Downspout Configuration, Accessories and More

An essential part of a roof is a properly configured downspout, which redirects rain water away from the foundation of the house.  An improperly installed downspout and gutter system can cause expensive damage to the siding, foundation, and even to the surrounding environment. A poorly installed or clogged system will be manifested by excessive runoff at the worst places, such as huge puddles gathering over the walkway or right in front of the main entrance. This article will give you a quick lesson on downspout configuration, accessory options, and other useful information.

Downspout Extension Types

There are three general types of downspout extensions:

  • Flexible:  This typically extends about 55 inches and can connect many extensions, allowing for the downspout to bend around corners.
  • Roll-out:  This is where downspout technology gets mechanical. This extension will roll out to a length of about 50 to 150 inches when it becomes filled with rainwater, and then retracts.
  • Flip-up:  This extension will have hinges that allows for the downspout to be flipped up and out of the way when doing lawn chores.

Downspout Configuration – Endless Possibilities

When considering how to configure the downspout, it is vital to be aware of the path, obstacles, and the end location of the runoff. The runoff may have contaminated water, so directing it to run into your neighbor’s garden wouldn’t be the most diplomatic solution. If you live in a community, there may be policies as to where runoff should go.

A popular option is to collect the rain water in a barrel. This is great for dry places such as Arizona or California, where water usage is often limited and expensive.  Some cities will give the homeowner credit on their water bill when they collect and use runoff for watering their grass and garden.  This is obviously the more environmentally friendly option, as it saves using water from the tap.

With the use of downspout extensions, you can place the barrel at any location you want. It is best to put it in a position that is both more pleasing to the eye and where runoff can be directed when you choose not to collect rain in the barrel.

You can also use flexible extensions and run them underground to keep the configuration from being an eyesore. When configuring the downspout system, you want to remember that water flows best with gravity and momentum.

Some Popular Downspout Accessories

Strainers:  These will prevent gutter outlets from being clogged and are typically made from copper, aluminum, and galvanized steel.

Runoff Filters:  These will be strategically placed at a point in the collection barrel. It has an opening that to direct the water into the barrel, and a filter that prevents an excess of debris from collecting in the barrel with the rain water.

Water Distributors:  This is a new innovative system, evenly distributing water throughout the ground, preventing erosion. It doesn’t allow for rodents to use your downspout system as their hideouts and flushes to the ground, allowing for a lawn mower to go over it without damage.

Gutter Creatures:  These will give your downspouts a cute and entertaining look. They are different designs of various animals that are placed at the end of an extension that not only run water away from your foundation, but adds a bit of flare to your yard.