Home Inspection Articles

Checking your Downspouts Can Save You Money & Frustration

Posted by Olivia Hunt on Aug 29, 2012 9:08:00 AM

How to Take Care of Your Gutters and Downspouts to Prevent Water Damage


A typical two-storey house has three to four downspouts that help with discharging water away from your home. Water penetration is the number one issue consumers face with their home which is why we place so much emphasis on educating homeowners on this item. For a small investment of $50 or less, downspouts can help to protect your home by keeping water away from the foundation thus avoiding the potential for costly repairs.

 The most common problem with gutters is leakage. Leakage will occur with galvanized gutters as they rust through. Holes can develop in copper gutters as well. All gutters are prone to leakage of the joints and seams. Missing end caps and poor connections to downspouts are other common sources of leakage.

Homeowners should ensure that both gutters and downspouts are clear of debris. Deflector screens are sometimes installed to prevent leaves and twigs from getting into the troughs, but these rarely work well. Too often they become loose and fall out, and can sometimes make cleaning those troughs more difficult.

Downspouts collect water from the gutters and discharge it into drains or onto the ground. Underground drains become clogged or break below grade. If an underground downspout malfunctions, water problems will likely develop in that part of the basement. There are two options in this scenario:

  1. Exterior digging and repairs
  2. Disconnecting the downspout and redirecting it to discharge away from the house. This is much faster, cheaper and easier to monitor

Downspouts should discharge above grade onto the ground at least six feet from the home, click here to see a proper downspout installation. The slope of the ground in this area should be away from the house, to direct water away from the basement.

Helpful tips such as these are provided through Carson Dunlop’s Homeowners Association. Carson Dunlop is committed to helping our clients make good decisions on their homes. We understand that a great Home Inspection is just the beginning, which is why we provide the tools and resources to help our clients maintain, repair or renovate their home. To learn more about Carson Dunlop’s Homeowners Association, please click here.

Topics: Home Reference Book, Home Inspection, Homeowners Association, Homeowner Tips