Down and Out: Ensuring Proper Downspout Drainage

 

Our last blog post discussed the importance of creating an effective drainage system to avoid water damage and costly home repairs. This time we more closely examine the cornerstone of any home drainage system, downspouts. Improperly placed and installed downspouts result in seeping and pooling at the home’s foundation. This can ultimately cause soil erosion, plant death, basement and lower level flooding, and foundation and structural damage.  Considering downspout locations and quantities, proper installation, and supplemental extension systems are all ways to ensure downspout efficiency.

 

Location and Quantity

Home size, layout, and landscape are important factors in determining location and number of downspouts. Downspouts should be installed for every 20’ of guttering. Gutters should slope approximately ½” every 10’ to maximize water flow from the gutter into the downspout system. Downspouts should be installed in inconspicuous places as much as possible. This will help to maintain a home’s curbside appeal. Further, it is recommended downspouts are installed in unobstructed areas where the water can easily be diverted away from the home. Meters, sidewalks, and landscape consisting of plants/trees with deep root systems create barriers to water diversion and expulsion.

 

The Parts

Downspouts typically consist of the following: an outlet connecting the gutter and downspout, elbows at the top and bottom to curve into the home’s outer wall and expel water at the bottom, union sleeves connecting the elbows to the downspout, the downspout itself, and brackets for mounting. The parts are easily fitted through a slip joint system; where a smaller end is slipped inside a larger one and then fastened by screws. The successive pieces should always be fitted so the upper section fits into the lower one to avoid leakage. Upon assembly, the downspout system should be set into the outlet and then brackets placed every 10’ down the home for secure attachment. It is recommended the water is discharged at least 2’-3’ from the home’s foundation. For many homeowners this makes extension systems a necessity.

 

Extension Systems

Splash blocks and underground downspout diverters are the most common extension systems. Both can be combined with a French Drain, or be used as a stand-alone feature, depending on the property’s slope and pre-disposition to pooling and flooding. Splash blocks are the simpler of the two. They come in a variety of functional and decorative designs that easily add additional length needed to divert water flow. They are placed directly beneath the opening of the lower elbow to usher water away from the home.

Underground downspout diverters connect directly to the lower elbow opening and send the water through a PVC pipe system buried a foot or two below the ground. These systems should run about 10’ away from the home. They can empty into a French Drain, or can be fitted with a bubble pot allowing water to evenly disperse in the yard.

 

Properly installed downspouts are the first line of defense in preventing water damage to your home and landscape. If you are concerned your gutter and downspouts are not up to par, or unsure if your current system can effectively manage Ohio’s rainfall, Country Club Landscaping is happy to provide assessment. Protect your landscape. Protect your home. We are here to help!

Fight the Flood: Building an Effective Drainage System

Spring rain showers are a welcome relief from the dreary days of winter. However, much like their winter counterparts’ snow and sleet, these showers can wreak havoc on homes and landscapes. Pooling rainwater from ineffective draining systems can lead to flooded plant beds, wet basements, cracked foundation, and mosquitoes (yuck!). A proper drainage system is the best way to manage mosquito population, protect your home, and preserve your landscape from costly repairs associated with standing water. An effective system is comprised of two components: one that collects and moves water away from the home’s foundation and plant beds, and a second that drains the water to prevent pooling.

 

Gutters and Downspouts

All homes are built with the foundation for an organized drainage system. Gutters and downspouts are used to collect rainwater from the roof and begin the process of diverting it. The rainwater is caught by the gutter and transferred through vertical downspouts to be expelled a safe distance from the house. All too often, this system is rendered ineffective by improperly sloped gutters and shortened downspouts.

 

Checking gutters and downspouts is the first step to creating an effective drainage system. Gutters should be sloped to prevent sagging and pooling. On average, they should slope .5” for every 10’ of roof leading towards a downspout. Downspouts should run the length of the home and extend at least 2’ to 3’ past the foundation to guide the water into the second part of the drainage system. Downspout extensions can be comprised of underground drain lines, or splash blocks to meet the 2’-3’ minimum requirement. Extensions may actually need to be longer if the yard is sloped towards the home. Once the rainwater has been moved through the gutters and downspouts a drain is used to prevent further accumulation.

 

French Drains

Although there are a lot of options on the market, the French Drain is one of the most common drainage systems. It is a simple and versatile way to divert water and prevent pooling. Essentially, the French Drain is a trench that can be lined with a variety of materials channeling water into an underground pipe system. Whereas gutters and downspouts manage precipitation from the roof, French Drains manage the water at the ground level. With a slope of no less than 1%, water enters the drain field (or high end) and runs to the exit point (or low end) where it is expelled at a safe distance from the home. This system helps to prevent pooling, seepage, and soil erosion all of which attract mosquitoes and threaten plant health and the home’s structural integrity.

 

By addressing drainage from top to bottom, homeowners are working to stave off foundation damage, basement leaks, and ensuring an attractive and enjoyable outdoor space free from drowned plant beds and mosquitoes. In our commitment to plant health and landscape integrity, Country Club Landscaping is pleased to offer drainage assessment and installation. Our team of trained professionals will analyze your current drainage system to determine overall effectiveness, provide recommendations, and install downspout extensions and French Drains. Drainage inspection and installation is just one of the many services we offer to meet customer’s needs and enhance their quality of outdoor living.