Standard downspouts are essential players on your property’s water management team. They work in tandem with your gutter system to redirect water away from the exterior of your home to preserve walls, windows, and doors. It is thus essential to keep them clear of any blockages like dirt, leaves, and other debris.
Preventing water damage should be among every homeowner’s top priorities, which means seriously considering downspout extensions – even if your standard spouts and gutters are well-cleaned and in good working order. This guide will examine why adding a downspout extension is smart water management and who you can call to get the job done.
What are The Three Most Common Designs for Downspouts?
Two structural concerns influence the right downspout extension for a property: the blueprint of the home and the soil type that surrounds it. This is what makes it so important to speak to foundation maintenance experts who consider the whole picture before you commit to a particular solution.
Downspout extensions are usually made of plastic or aluminum for durability, and they are generally grouped into one of three categories:
Flip-Ups (aka Swivel Spouts)
These hinged options perform the primary function of every downspout extension (redirecting water even farther away from a home and its foundations) while offering a little more convenience for gardeners or home improvement buffs. Just flip the extension up, left, or right at the hinge as you work, then return it to its operating position.
Flexibles (aka Accordion Spouts)
These bendable tubes are ribbed on the surface to allow for multiple extensions to be fitted together. This effectively gives homeowners numerous choices on where their water ends up, and even the route it takes to get there. Note: Homeowners should check manufacturer specs and reviews to be sure they avoid cheaply made flexible extensions.
These vinyl extensions look something like a giant sock added to the end of your downspout. They operate by rolling out as they become more and more water-filled and then retracting when the water flow has subsided.
Note: One downside of this model is that it takes a particular strength of flow to work effectively. The roll out won’t extend otherwise, which could be a liability for homeowners who don’t get much heavy rainfall.
It is also a good idea to invest in a splash block to sit at the end of whichever downspout extension you choose. These blocks are made of plastic, rubber, or concrete and disperse water at the pouring point to prevent the water from steadily eroding the ground where it makes contact. Now let’s look at the preventive power downspout extensions put into homeowners’ hands.
What are The Top Reasons You Need a Downspout Extension?
Homeowners may look at their downspout and feel content that it’s large and clear enough to keep a steady flow of water pouring away from the front of their house. That’s all well and good for the exterior, but it’s also potentially harmful, because the entire structure may be at risk. Here is how a downspout extension can prevent a lot of trouble:
1. You Gain Locational Control
Unaltered downspouts have fixed water-deposit positions based solely on exterior concerns. They continue pouring water out onto a single predetermined location, which homeowners may not recognize as becoming a structural threat over time. Extensions remove this rigid placement and let the homeowner decide where the deluge gets dumped.
2. They Prevent Weakening Foundations
A single unsuitable spot being bombarded repeatedly by water can be very risky, especially if properties have a basement. Excessive water can dramatically alter soil moisture levels and weaken foundation walls and ceilings, potentially causing a chain reaction that harms the entire home.
3. Water Wears Down the Toughest Materials
Soil isn’t the only thing non-extended downspouts can harm. Even concrete – which many homeowners forget is porous – can be weakened by water over time until it becomes brittle and cracks. Drywall, windows, and doorframes in basements are also vulnerable to water corrosion. Redirect that flow with a downspout extension to make all your home’s materials last longer.
4. Extensions Help Homeowners Avoid Health Issues and Uninvited Guests
Water in undesired places can also lead to other problems. Mildew, mold, and insects are some of the health hazards that can start making inroads through weak spots in your home’s structure. The simple addition of a downspout extension can work wonders in preventing these issues.
5. They Have Some Aesthetic Flexibility Too
The right water management team can help you integrate a downspout extension not only seamlessly into your existing spout but also into the surrounding property. Popular options are placing extensions directly onto pebble beds, painting them to match or complement exterior color schemes, running them into a decorated rain barrel, or surrounding them with plants or trellises.
6. You Get All These Benefits for Very Little Money
Simple above ground downspout extensions like the three designs highlighted above are among the cheapest water management solutions, and their ROI is hard to match. As little as $10 to $50 can see homeowners preventing problems that could run into many thousands of dollars to repair.
Quickly and cheaply picking up a downspout extension is different from applying it effectively. Consulting with seasoned foundation professionals is always advised on any water management issue. Their insight provides confidence that you’re picking the right downspout extension for your home and soil type while positioning it at the optimum distance and direction to protect you and your property.
Contact the Lux Foundation Experts with Any Questions
Downspout extensions are a powerful and cost-effective solution for any homeowner looking to protect their foundation as well as their surrounding landscape. The LUX Foundation Solutions team has many years of engineering experience that we rely on to provide the best advice and service in water management, basement care, and all aspects of foundation maintenance. Our experienced pros have delivered unparalleled service throughout the Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia, and parts of Central Virginia. Contact our team today to speak with an expert.