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How many downspouts should your home have? What are different types of downspouts? How can you maintain them? Find out!

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If you have ever dealt with a flooded basement, you are aware of what level of damage water can cause. Not only can it destroy your possessions, but it can lead to mold infestation and serious foundation issues, which can compromise the structural stability of your home. Therefore, as a responsible homeowner, you should make sure that your home is protected in case of heavy rainstorms. 

Downspouts are often overlooked by homeowners and yet they play a crucial role when it comes to preventing water damage. If it weren’t for these fixtures, gallons of water would end up right next to your home during a storm. The purpose of downspouts is to collect the water that ends up on your roof and direct it away from your home’s perimeter. In this way, downspouts are responsible for averting all kinds of damage that would have affected your home, landscaping, and exterior paint. Without these fixtures, you would easily end up with mold infestation, wood rot, foundation wall cracks, and peeling paint. 


What Are Downspouts? 

A downspout is a tube that is placed vertically and connected to the horizontal drains that direct water away from your home. It’s an important element of any gutter system and helps prevent soil erosion and foundation damage. Although downspouts are just simple pipes, they need to be properly maintained to do their job well. 

Types of Downspouts 

There are three different types of downspouts. 


This type comes in two sizes and is usually paired with 5” K-style gutters. This type is rather popular since it resembles stylish crown moldings and adds a touch of glamour to the house. K-style downspouts can carry more water than round ones. 


Although they are not able to carry so much water, they have a handy advantage. Round downspouts are smoother inside which makes them more durable. Since water isn’t able to collect in various nooks of these spouts, it swiftly leaves them. Therefore, the metal doesn’t rust over time. Round downspouts come in various colors and their sizes range from 3″ to 6″.                           


This is also a popular style of downspout. It comes in three sizes: 2 x 3, 3 x 4, and 4 x 5. Rectangular downspouts are sturdy and tight-fitting. 

The Number of Downspouts 

If you want to install downspouts, you might be wondering about the number of fixtures you need. To figure this out, you need to consider several things, such as the climate in your area and the slope of your roof. In most cases, it is recommended to place a downspout every 30-40 feet of guttering. This way your gutters won’t get overloaded, and the rain won’t spill from them to the ground next to your home. 

What Should I Consider When Installing Downspouts? 

Although downspouts aren’t the most glamourous part of the gutter system, they are extremely important since they maximize the efficiency of the drainage system and can save you a lot of money in repairs. If your downspouts are correctly installed, you won’t have to worry about rainwater from the roof pooling next to your house. To choose the right downspouts for your home, here are several things you need to consider. 

  • Rainfall intensity: Homeowners who live in an area where heavy rainstorms are nothing unusual should invest in large downspouts. This way, their home will be protected during heavy downpours or prolonged rains and water will quickly exit their property. 
  • Area to be drained: The larger your roof area, the more water it will collect. Therefore, if you have a big roof you will need to get more downspouts than homeowners who have houses with smaller roof areas. 
  • Design and size: As explained above, there are three types of downspouts and they come in different shapes and sizes. Talk to your contractor and see which ones they recommend. 
  • Roof slope: To choose the right downspouts for your home, you will need to pay attention to your roof’s grading. When the roof is steep, the water will quickly slide from it and into the gutters, so larger downspouts are needed to drain water as quickly as possible. This way, they won’t overflow. 
  • How far the downspouts should extend: To keep your home and foundation protected from water damage, downspouts should direct rainwater as far away from the home’s perimeter as possible. In general, building codes say that downspouts should extend a minimum of four feet from the foundation on sloping ground and 10 feet on flat land. You also can opt to have the downspout extensions placed in the ground

How to Maintain Downspouts 

Although downspouts are not complicated fixtures, they still require regular maintenance. Only then will they be able to serve their purpose and last for years to come. It is recommended that you check the state of your downspouts twice a year. This way you can avoid drainage issues and foundation damage. Since clogs can cause water backups and overflow, use a plumber’s snake to check whether there are any jams in your downspouts. 

Two times a year, take the time to check your downspouts for rust and impact damage. If there are rusty parts on them, your downspouts are deteriorating and losing their structural integrity. On the other hand, impact damage can cause deformities that act like clogs. In case there is any kind of damage, you should have your downspouts replaced by an expert contractor. Otherwise, these fixtures could malfunction when you need them the most and you will need to invest in foundation repairs which can be pricey. 

Downspouts are crucial for keeping your home free of water, but they’re just one piece. It’s also important to have interior measures to keep the whole of your home from leaking and flooding. If you wish to keep your home protected from any kind of water damage, contact an expert team in North Carolina and schedule a free inspection. A professional from Tar Heel Basement Systems can inspect your home and recommend waterproofing measures that could ensure your home’s health and stability. 

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