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Downspout Extension

Six Ways to Extend Your Gutter Downspouts

Protecting your home is a priority and downspout extensions help you do that by channeling the Texas rain away from your home’s foundation and siding.

A downspout extension is an add-on for your existing gutter system. Standard downspouts channel water from the roof of your home to the ground in a controlled manner, limiting erosion and pooling. Extensions carry this water further away from your foundation and landscaping, further protecting your home and yard.

There are six basic types of downspout extension:

  1. Aluminum
  2. Plastic
  3. Eco-Friendly Plastic
  4. Roll Out
  5. Splash Blocks
  6. Downspout Diverters

Why Do I Need a Downspout Extension?

You need a downspout extension to move rainwater far enough away from your home to prevent problems. This is especially critical if you own one of the many homes in Austin, San Antonio or Dallas that have basements.

Keeping basements dry is important. Installing downspout extensions is a simple solution for homeowners who regularly experience damp basements or a musty odor in their crawl spaces.

The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) recommends that water drains at least three feet, and preferably six feet, from your basement walls. If you live in an area like Texas prone to heavy rainfall or monsoon storms, a downspout extension could save you from the expense of waterproofing your foundation.

For more information on ways you can prevent flooding, visit Texas Ready. Their flood prevention guidelines stress the importance of establishing a system that channels water way from your home to prevent flooding. Properly installed, working gutters with downspout extensions offer significant flood damage prevention.

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How Far Should Downspouts Extend from the House?

  • If your home is on clay-rich soil, your downspouts should extend at least three feet from the foundation.
  • On flat land, your downspout should extend at least 10 feet from the house.
  • Should your soil be very sandy, your downspout will need to extend even further.

The general rule of thumb is the further away from your exterior walls, the better the protection for your foundation.

Should I Clean My Gutters and Downspouts Before Installing a Downspout Extension?

You should clean your gutters a minimum of twice a year. They channel rainwater from your roof into downspouts, where blockages often occur.

If you haven’t cleaned your gutters and downspouts in awhile, we recommend you include gutter cleaning with the installation of downspout extensions.

These are some signs of a clogged downspout.

  • No water coming out of the downspout.
  • Water backs up in your gutters.
  • Leaking along the channel, join or downspout connection.
  • Mold or Lichen growing on your home’s siding. This may occur due to water splashing from the side of your gutters when an area is blocked.

Installing gutter guards and having your gutters and downspouts professionally cleaned can help to eliminate downspout clogs.

How Can I Unblock My Downspout?

It’s important to understand that this job will require you to use a ladder and possible climb onto your roof. Always take ladder safety measures (including following any instructions for your tools and ladder) and have someone else with you.

Wear thick work gloves and eye goggles for protection. Clean your gutters before cleaning and unblocking your downspouts.

Some steps to unclog your downspouts:

  • Insert a garden trowel into the bottom of your downspout to remove any debris trapped near the opening. Insert the end of a garden hose into your downspout to help to rinse out any other trapped debris.
  • Climb onto your ladder with your hose. When you reach the top of the downspout, ask your assistant to turn on the water. If they see water draining from the downspout, you have cleared the obstruction. Should the water back up to the gutter, then there's still a blockage.
  • Walk down the ladder, one rung at a time, and gently knock on the downspout as you go. Return to the top of the ladder and try rinsing the inside of your downspout with your hose.
  • Use a handheld auger, and from the top or bottom of your downspout, turn the drum clockwise. When the auger is all the way through, pull up the cable. You may need to repeat this process.
  • Make use of a power tool such as a wet/dry vacuum, leaf blower, or power washer. These often have the power to dislodge a blockage.

Not comfortable climbing up and down a ladder with an armful of tools? Gutter Tex technicians are here to help. We offer affordable gutter cleaning and gutter repair so you don’t have to risk your safety.

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Plastic Splash Block

What Types of Downspout Extensions Are Available?

Downspout extensions are available in a range of styles and materials.

  • Aluminum is a popular choice to match aluminum gutters and downspouts. They are inexpensive, installed quickly, and are the least noticeable option.
  • Plastic extensions are popular, although the quality of the plastic varies between manufacturers. Remember, it will be subject to the sun’s harmful UV rays and other damage, so it won’t last as long as other options.
  • Eco-Friendly Plastic extensions are basically plastic extensions but constructed from recycled materials. The environmental kindness of these earns them their own place on the list. But, again, they won't hold up nearly as long as metal.
  • Roll Out Extensions expand and fill with the water leaving your gutters. They disperse the water from tiny holes. After the rain has stopped and they're completely drained, they roll themselves back up.

What Are Downspout Splash Blocks and Downspout Diverters?

These two products help move water away from your home, but unlike extensions, they don’t connect to the downspout. Instead, we place them under the downspout.

Splash Blocks are made from either concrete or plastic, are rectangular in shape, and like an extension, divert rainwater away from your home’s foundations.

A Downspout Diverter carries runoff so that rainwater exits at a particular area of the lawn or garden; for example, into decorative rock, shrubs, or even a rainwater storage container.

Like downspout extensions, diverters attach to the end of your downspout. They come in a range of materials and styles, from purely functional (they look like long, wavy tubes) to whimsical renditions of animals on top of wooden barrels.

Protect Your Home with a Simple, Cost-effective Downspout Extension

We hope this helped you understand the importance of looking after your gutter system and the important role downspout extensions play in protecting your home’s foundation.

At Gutter Tex, we know that caring for gutters or unblocking a downspout can be a time-consuming chore. Save yourself time and hassle. Contact us to schedule a free onsite quote.