Does Your Property Need Gutter Extensions or Downspout Extensions?
Although it’s technically not the rainiest in the country, Washington state gets pigeonholed for drizzly weather and we do receive between 70 to 100 inches of rainfall on average per year. Given the humidity and moisture that wash over Washington, is it any wonder most homeowners remain extra vigilant about their home’s rain gutters to ensure their home is protected from water damage?
We know most homeowners are keen on the proper upkeep of their gutters with an annual inspection and routine maintenance. And some even kick it up a notch by investing in extra add-on features from gutter guards, to downspout extensions or gutter extensions to allow their gutters to remain in pristine condition. For example, downspout extensions can be attached to your downspout outlet allowing the flow of water to be tightly controlled and better reshuffled to divert water away from your home and foundation.
If your gutter system needs help, call the team of experts at Pacific Gutter Company. We’ll inspect the condition of your rainwater disposal system and offer recommendations on the best course of action, including possible gutter extensions or downspout extensions.
What are Gutter Downspout Extensions and Why are They Important?
A basic gutter system is composed of sectional or seamless troughs, downspouts, and gutter guards all held together by fasteners and serve as a watchdog or water-catching apparatus to collect any water and redirect it to your downspout outlet and expel it far away from your home. A downspout is a vertical pipe that runs on the side of a house and if you’re missing one water in your troughs will remain at a standstill overloading the gutter system during heavy rains. A downspout will divert water via a splash block or add gutter extensions to move it away from the building. Ideally, a downspout aims to carry water away up to five feet and should be placed at a minimum of four feet away from the house.
The sole purpose of a downspout is to empty water collected in gutters to a designated spot a safe distance from your home. Your downspout outlet, however, is not foolproof as sometimes water can pool right underneath the downspout. Excess water can result in flooding and water damage to your home. Gutters are mandatory to prevent water damage, but if you find that despite having gutters the outskirts of your home has become a soggy marshland you may need downspout extensions.
Water and moisture damage from rain, hail, and snow melt water doesn’t happen overnight but accumulates over many years until it reaches a crisis scenario. For example, a clogged gutter results in overflowing water troughs that splash and slosh not only against your roof’s components including soffits, fascia boards, and siding but also cause your ceiling to cave or your basement to flood out. One pesky clog can indeed threaten the structural integrity of your home and result in permanent and costly damage so you are best advised to bolster your gutter system as best you can.
You should also take into consideration the condition of your soil and slope of the house. Although downspout extensions are not always necessary, in some cases they are absolutely crucial to readily prevent foundation damage and soil erosion. If you have a downspout it’s incorrectly positioned, water can spew out from its sides. Or if a downspout is clogged due to leftover debris from dirt, twigs, leaves, stones, pine needles, and more it won’t expel water into the extension which can result in a leaky or sagging downspout that detaches from the gutter due to added weight of a blockage. Plus if you forgo gutter extensions don’t be surprised to see mold and mildew growth alongside structural issues in your home’s foundation due to washed-out soil.
What are Some Telltale Signs You Need a Downspout Extension?
There are some red flags you must watch out for that can indicate you need downspout extensions or gutter extensions:
- Clogs from accumulated debris including dirt, leaves, twigs, stones, pebbles, bird’s nests, and more
- Gutter leaks
- Mold and mildew growth
- Attic moisture damage
- Leaking foundation
- Soil erosion
- Damaged landscaping
- Plants dead from excessive water
What Does Installing Downspout Extensions Involve?
If a pool of water happens to collect around your home all at once because you don’t have proper drainage, excess water will damage your roof, wallboards, foundation, and landscaping. First and foremost, having a durable gutter system is essential, alongside a downspout outlet supported by an extension to ensure water is carried far away from your home. A downspout extension is useful as it adds a downward slope to the ground around your house and encourages expulsion of water and therefore making your downspout more effective. Best of all, downspouts can be extended under raised patios, porches, or decks to redirect and channel way away from garden beds too.
Downspout extensions are attached by adding an elbow to the end of a downspout and connecting the extension price. Usually, an extension piece is a pipe that will be several feet in length and will direct water at least six feet away from the house. The placement of a downspout extension should be carefully calculated. Because water trickles out of the extension towards the sloped part of the ground so that water can drain farther away from the house. So we advise clients to not point the downspout extension towards the sidewalk or driveway as any standing water can freeze in winter resulting in a slippery driveway and is a safety hazard. It’s also a bad idea to ensure the extension isn’t placed on an incline that slopes towards your home as water will run towards the foundation of your home.
To achieve an ideal slope for your downspout it’s good practice to inspect the ground in and around the downspout to ensure there are no gaps as this can result in a muddy ditch that traps and ensnares water. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by plugging up any gaps by packing soil, preferably granular soil with a higher sand content which is compact due to being made of clay and doesn’t easily absorb water and can keep the downspout outlet and mouth of the extension firmly in place. The added dirt will help to create a subtle slope that runs away from the foundation of the house and will stop water from collecting near the foundation.
Here is our process for installing downspout extensions:
- Measure It Out: First, our professional technician will measure up from where the downspout is attached to the sewer standpipe and mark it off at about nine inches.
- Cut And Remove: At the approximate location where we made a mark, we will use a fine-tooth hacksaw to cut off a portion of the downspout pipe.
- Cap It Off: We’ll insert a cap on the sewer standpipe to prevent water, debris, rodents, and other pests from invading the standpipe.
- Elbow Me: Next we will insert the downspout into the downspout elbow. It’s important to place the downspout directly inside the elbow completely so the downspout doesn’t leak. One way we will ensure it is securely fastened is by using pliers to twist and bend the end of the downspout to the appropriate fit.
- Secure Attachment: Finally we will insert the either metal or plastic downspout that spans at least 5 feet to the opposite end of the elbow.
- Lock And Set: We will use sheet metal screws to secure the extension to the elbow and ensure your downspout doesn’t wobble.
- Customize: The beauty of gutter extensions is that you are in charge of how far and wide it can redirect water. Properly cut down the downspout extension to a length that allows rainwater to drain at the very minimum 5 feet away from the home.
What are Some Common Problems With Gutter Downspouts?
Blockages from debris are the most common problem with gutter systems especially if you’re not keen on routine maintenance including frequent cleanings at least twice a year. Smaller blockages can be scooped out and sprayed out with a power washer or high-pressure garden hose. If the debris is extra rigid it may need to be dislodged first using a slender pole. For medium to larger-sized blockages, especially ones in your downspout outlet, a drum auger is used. The ball end of a drum auger is inserted into the bottom end of the downspout and the metal end of the auger’s cylinder drum clenches stuck debris which can sometimes be located in more tricky areas like elbow joints. The auger is rotated clockwise and then counterclockwise to grasp the clog and remove it fully. If any water flushes during this time it’s a good sign as it indicates a clog has been completely gotten rid of.
Broken or Loose Fasteners
If your gutters tend to sag and pull away from the roofline they may need to be refastened. An expert technician has the right tactics to perform this service as it’s important to be strategic. Usually, old brackets will be removed partially with an electric drill and new gutter hangers will be screwed into place. It’s important to ensure hangers are spaced at least 4 inches apart along the entire length of a gutter.
Benefits of Downspout Extensions
There are numerous benefits to gutter extensions, specifically a Pacific Gutters version which is meant to be effective and long-lasting.
Safety And Security: Extra Protection
If you opt for our preferred seamless gutter system, which includes a downspout outlet, and pair it alongside a downspout extension, there is a slim chance of any leaks emerging. Most traditional gutters are made of sectional troughs which are segmented pieces more susceptible to leaks due to loosened bridging connections. Seamless gutters are streamlined and measured to your roof’s exact dimensions and are less likely to result in a clog within a downspout outlet and its attached bending elbow joints which hooks up to the extension.
Cost Effective: Save Money
Apart from our high-grade aluminum gutter material, after a downspout extension installation, you’ll find yourself flushing and cleaning out your troughs of any garb much less often as there are fewer chances of standing water pooling inside of your gutter. This is because your gutter extensions help to ready, aim, and fire collected rainwater to a designated safe space a far distance away from your home’s foundation. Plus, gutter extensions boost your home’s curb appeal and overall property value to prospective buyers as they will be impressed at your effort and motivation for proper upkeep. And so, accessorizing your gutter in any way, shape, or form is a worthwhile investment.
Minimalism: Lesser Maintenance
Apart from having to scrub clean your gutters much less often and reducing likelihood of nasty clogs, you won’t find yourself participating in any gutter repairs as much as you had expected including correcting sagging troughs that pull away from your roof. Downspout extensions serve to make your gutter system more efficient and effectively catapult rainwater at a minimum of ten feet away from your house so you won’t encounter water damage from a flash flood from a heavy rainstorm anytime soon.
Pacific Gutter Company is the Preferable Choice for Downspout and Gutter Extensions
It may be a small upgrade but a gutter extension for your downspout can make a world of difference in preventing erosion of your topsoil and the be-all, end-all of a damaged home foundation. We serve multiple localities in the Portland and Seattle area. If you’re interested in learning more about benefits of gutter systems feel free to reach out to us!