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All About Downspouts

What are downspouts?

Downspouts are the pipes responsible for transferring water from the roof of building to the ground level. Downspouts typically hang vertically on the corners of a house or building. They are designed to control the flow of water from the gutter to a safe location, where water cannot seep into the home’s foundation.

What are downspout extensions?
A downspout extension is a hose-like feature that is attached to the bottom of a standard downspout. The extension helps to divert even further away from the building foundation. This can help prevent your lawn from becoming oversaturated in one particular spot. Downspout extensions are often retractable for additional flexibility and versatility, giving you the ability to determine exactly where the water will end up.

Can downspouts be buried underground?
Yes, downspout extensions can be buried underground. By burying the extension, you’re able to avoid a potential tripping hazard. The downspout extension can be as long (or as short) as you need it to be. The extension will divert the water away from your home and move it closer to a desirable location, such as a storm drain, dry well, or sewer. However, if these underground pipes become clogged with dead leaves or other debris, it will be more difficult to troubleshoot these issues.

What are downspouts made of?
Downspouts are made of vinyl (PVC), stainless steel, copper, aluminum, galvanized steel, and several other materials. In most cases, the downspouts will be made of the same material as your gutters.

What type of downspouts are available?
Downspouts come in several shapes and sizes. While many downspouts have a rectangular shape to fit snugly against your home, round downspouts are also very common. The round downspouts are especially popular when installing half-round gutters. Steeper roofs or homes located in wet climates may require larger downspouts in order to accommodate additional rainfall.

Round downspouts come in different widths, with diameters ranging from 2 inches to 6 inches. Rectangular downspouts come in several different sizes, including 2”x3”, 3”x4”, and 4”x5”. The larger, wider downspouts are better equipped to handle large quantities of water and are less likely to clog. While the 2"x3" downspouts can handle about 180 gallons per minute, the 3"x4" downspouts can handle almost 500 gallons of rain per minute.

What are splash boards? A splash board is a piece of material, placed under the downspout, to move water further away from the home’s foundation. It acts as a shield or guard to protect the area immediately under the downspout. Splash boards are typically made of plastic and they come in a variety of different colors.

What about decorative downspouts and rain chains?
If standard downspouts aren’t for you, there are many creative alternatives. A quick search on the internet can uncover a world of possibilities. Rain chains are also very popular as an alternative to closed downspouts. Rainwater travels down the decorative chain to create a water feature.

Can downspouts be painted? Yes, some downspouts can be painted, including aluminum, galvanized, and other metal downspouts. Before you begin painting, you’ll need to make sure that the downspout surface is cleaned and properly primed. Also, not all paints are the same. Make sure that you purchase paint that is designed for metal surfaces.

How can I fix frozen downspouts?
During the coldest months of the year, ice and snow may accumulate in your downspouts. In some cases, it’s not necessary to do anything. As the temperatures rise, the ice and snow will gradually thaw out. In other cases, you may need to enlist the services of a professional gutter contractor. Frozen downspouts can become heavy and become detached from your home, or water trapped on the roof may seep into your roof.

Can I attach downspouts to a rain barrel?
Yes, the water collected in your gutters and downspouts can become part of a rainwater harvesting system. Rather than diverting the water to a storm drain or sewer, the water can be collected and stored in a rain barrel. This water can be used to water your lawn and other plants.


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ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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