Downspout? All You Need to Know!

The rainy season can bring issues to your downspout. Drain blockages, land erosion, or mould are some of the examples of these issues.

This is why, to prevent these issues caused by rain, downspouts have been created to work alongside your gutters.

Here, we explain downspouts or more commonly known as downpipes here in the UK, and some important related points. Let’s have a good look.

What is a Downspout?

A downspout, also known as a waterspout or drain pipe or downpipe or roof drain pipe or leader, is used for carrying rainwater from the gutters on the roof to the ground. It allows the rainwater to reach the ground level without splashing or dripping down the building. Downspouts are usually vertical, extended down to ground level, but can be routed at certain angles to avoid structural properties..

Downspouts are designed to divert water away from the building’s foundation. There is a slight bend of about 70 degrees at the end to lead the water to a sewer or a water drain. Some people even add decorative heads to the bottom end.

If there is no downspout, fascia boards will be the first thing in your home to get damaged from the waterlogging. If the fascia boards become wet and rotten this damage will extend to the rafters in your roof.

While installing a downspout, a provision must be made to ensure that the water is diverted away from your home and its foundation.

Types of Downspouts

There are choices for different types of downspouts, but your choice should not be based on aesthetics only. A guttering specialist should be able to guide you and ensure that you get functionality, suitability and hopefully teamed with good aesthetics!

Rectangular Downspout

These are the most commonly used downspouts that work with k-style gutters. There are different types of colours and materials available in this variation of a downspout. Rectangular downspouts have, both, crimped exterior as well as a smooth finish, though the crimped one is more common than the smooth one. They are mostly available in 10-foot sizes but can be customized as well on the site.

Bi-feed Downspouts

They are mostly used where there is a gutter intersection. When two gutters are close by, you can either have two downspouts next to each other or have a bi-feed downspout. In this, one downspout has two angles to connect to two gutters.

Flexible Downspouts

Most downspouts are fixed and rigid that go vertically from the gutter to the ground or sewer. Flexible downspouts are the same but with more flexibility. It can be positioned differently to stretch it further. These downspouts are sometimes added to the existing downspouts to make them longer.

Rain Chains

These are regular downspouts but are a bit decorative. They add an extra look to your home but work similar to downspouts. They are more modelled than the regular downspouts. They are generally made of metal but are more attractive. Advice should be taken if you are thinking of using rain chains, because they may not be suitable for your home if the rainfall is substantial.

Round Downspouts

These can be available in crimped, corrugated, or smooth finish. If you want to have a round downspout, then you must have a round or semi-round style of gutter. The most common round downspouts are uPVC half round in black, but can be purchased in most colours.

Downspout Costing

Downspouts are available on the market in various lengths, styles, and materials. Each style and material have different costs. The costing also depends on the size of your home and the number of gutters and downpipes you have at your home. However, for best results in appearance, make sure that your downspout material matches your gutter.

Different materials add to downspouts’ costs. Let’s go through some of the downspouts’ materials.

UPVC Downspout

These downspouts are mostly used with uPVC gutters. They are mostly rectangular but can be available in a flexible type as well. They work best in moderate climates as they can be brittle in cold weather and soften or distort in heat. In addition to the above, they are easy to clean with very little maintenance.


Gutter and downspout of a house with a blue sky and white clouds in the background.

Aluminum Downspout

Aluminium is most commonly used in downspouts and gutters on commercial properties. These downspouts are available in, both, rectangular and round styles with different colour choices and they are usually made to measure. Though aluminium is easily maintained and long lasting, if you live in a hail storm-prone area, it may not be a good choice and the cleaning will not be as easy as with the uPVC.

Galvanized Steel Downspout

They are more durable than the aluminium downspouts but less commonly used. As galvanised steel is tougher and more durable, there is very little possibility for it to be dented. Moreover, it is not likely to rust as compared to traditional steel, which makes it a good choice for rainy or stormy areas. They are also usually white and mostly rectangular or round.

Copper Downspout

If your gutters are made from copper, then copper downspouts will be the best option for you. Copper has a finish that may last for a significant time, unlike other metals that may corrode after some years. Because of its features and costs, it is considered as expensive.

Maintaining the Downspouts

As important it is to select the correct downspout and gutter, it is equally important to properly maintain the downspout installed. Some of the basic maintenance tips would include;

  • Cleaning Regularly: You must keep cleaning your gutter from time to time so that there are no leaves or sticks or debris stuck in the downspout’s way. The water should travel freely from the gutter to the downspout and from there to the sewer away from your house’s foundation or basement.

  • Installing Gutter Guards: This is a personal decision, and should be discussed with an experienced roofing technician. Theoretically, they should keep the leaves and debris away from the gutter, although the reality is that it will trap the debris, causing other detriments to your home. Even gutter guards need frequent maintenance and must be checked regularly.

  • Lengthening the Downspout: Your downspout must be long enough to direct the water away from the basement or home’s foundation. If your garden inclines towards your home’s foundation, then you must go for a longer downspout.

  • Repairing Sagging Gutters:This is the most common issue faced by many. If you find your gutters sagging, then get them repaired as soon as possible to avoid any leakages.

Downspout Blockage

Downspouts get clogged or blocked because of the same reason gutters get blocked. Leaves, debris, sticks, etc. get collected in the gutters and some of them may travel to the downspouts blocking them as well. If preventive measures are taken, like regular cleaning, installing gutter balloons, etc., then these clogged gutters and downspouts can be reduced.

The clogging of the downspouts is easily overlooked as small amounts of debris or pest droppings get stuck which does not give an immediate effect but clogs the downspout over time. Some of the common signs of blocked downspouts are;

  • Overflowing Gutters: Unless heavy rainfall, gutters must not overflow. If they are overflowing, then it means that the downspout is blocked and needs to be cleared.

  • Leaking Seams or Joints: If the downspout is clogged near the joints or seams, it may lead to leaking seams. This is because it puts pressure on the seams if the blockage is near the joints or seams.

  • Weak Runoff: If you see a weak runoff on a good rainy day, then it could mean your downspout is clogged or your gutters need realigning. You can check if your downpipe is blocked by tapping on the downspout. The clogged or blocked area will give a different sound when tapped.

When Do You Need a Downspout Repair?

The gutters and downspouts must be repaired and maintained from time to time so that the water stays away from your home. Repairs should be assessed by experts. It is why timely cleaning and maintenance must be done of the gutters and downspouts.

The selection of gutters and downspouts is a very important task that must be done carefully. From selection to installation, you must keep in mind the place you live, the weather you have there, and the issues you may face regarding a particular type of downspout or gutter. Gutter and Downspouts’ cost, maintenance, repair, should all be done attentively.

Downspout advice from professionals, gutter cleaning, gutter repair or roof repair you can call today on 0800 098 4130 for a free no obligation quote!