Downspout? All You Need to Know!
The rainy season brings joy to most people. However, sometimes, it brings issues as well to your downspout. Drain blockages, erosion, or mould at your home are some of the examples of these issues.
This is why, to prevent these issues caused due to rain, downspouts are made.
Here, we explain downspouts 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 gutter at the roof to the ground. It allows the rainwater to reach the ground level without splashing or dripping down the entire building. Downspouts are usually vertical, extended down to ground level, but can be routed at certain angles to avoid structural properties.
These 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 to let the water go into the ground through seepage. Some people even add decorative heads to the bottom end.
The gutter and the downspout are connected above a fascia board. Fascia board is a small wooden piece that is set between the roof’s bottom and the gutter’s top. If there is no downspout, fascia boards will be the first thing in your home to get damaged from the waterlogging.
In addition to this, 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
Different types of downspouts lead to different prices. They are;
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.
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.
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.
These are regular downspouts but a bit decorative. They add an extra look to your home but work just fine as other downspouts. They are more modelled than the regular downspouts. They are generally made of metal but are more attractive.
These can be available in crimped, corrugated, or smooth finish. If you want to have around downspout, then you must have a round or semi-round style of gutter. Usually, the smooth ones are more costly than the crimped or corrugated ones, even if they are in the same material. Round downspouts are mostly available in materials like copper that are expensive.
Downspouts are available in the market in various lengths, styles, and materials. Every style and material have different costs. The costing also depends on the size of your home and the number of gutters you have at your home. Various features lead to a wide range of costs. 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.
These downspouts are mostly used with vinyl gutters. They are mostly rectangular but can be available in flexible type as well. They are usually available in white and work best in moderate climates as they might break in cold weather and soften or distort in heat. In addition to the above, they are easy to clean with very little maintenance.
Aluminum is most commonly used in downspouts and gutters. These downspouts are available in, both, rectangular and round styles with different colour choices. The colour helps the downspout and gutter get blended with the home’s sides. This will prevent highlighting of the downspout and be less noticeable. Though aluminum is easily maintained, if you live in a hail storm-prone area, it may not be a good choice.
Galvanized Steel Downspout
They are more durable than the aluminum downspouts but less commonly used. As galvanized steel is tougher and more durable, there is very little possibility to get it 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.
If your gutters are made from copper, then copper downspouts will be the best option for you. Copper has a living finish that may last for centuries, unlike other metals that may corrode after some years. Because of its features, it is considered as the expensive type.
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 considered to be a good idea to keep the leaves and debris away from the gutter. But, even these guards need 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. Ideally, they must be 2 to 3 feet long, but if your yard 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.
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 guards, etc., then these clogged gutters and downspouts can be reduced.
The clogging of the downspouts is easily overlooked as small amounts of debris or animal droppings or animal hair gets stuck which does not give an immediate effect but clogs the downspout over a while. 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 cleaned.
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 means your downspout is clogged. The best way to check this is to tap 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 basement or your home’s foundation. Some repairs may need expert advice and hands, but some can be done on the home level. For instance, if the water overflows from the gutters. If this happens, then you know that either the gutter is blocked or the downspout is. 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 their 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.