How Far Should Your Downspouts Extend from Your House

How Far Should Your Downspouts Extend from Your House?

Every house in Washington should have gutters, which collect rainwater from the roof. No gutter system is complete without downspouts to redirect runoff away from the foundation. These vertical tubes connect to the gutter channel at the top and bend out a few inches as they approach the ground.

However, this is not enough. To protect your foundation, the downspouts should extend at least 4 to 6 feet from the house, but 10 feet is preferable. Find out why this is important and how to extend your downspouts if necessary.

What Happens if Downspouts Are Too Short?

Water is the number one cause of residential property damage. Something as simple as downspouts draining too close to the house may lead to several problems, including:

  • Foundation shifting and structural issues
  • Damp basement, mold growth, and unpleasant musty odors
  • Leaks and flooding
  • Soil erosion
  • Fines for failing to keep your house up to code

Fixing Poorly Sloping Soil

Downspout length isn’t the only factor affecting water drainage on your property. The soil grading also makes a difference. Ideally, the ground should slope down 6 inches for every 6 feet you move away from the house.

If the soil is flat or slopes toward your foundation, address this as soon as possible. The fix involves adding soil to low points in your landscape. Be sure to choose well-draining soil that doesn’t hold onto moisture, or you could make the problem worse. When adding soil right next to the house, make sure it doesn’t touch the siding, or you could end up with dry rot.

Types of Downspout Extensions

If your downspouts currently deposit water within 4 feet of the foundation, extend them with one of these options:

  • Aluminum extensions: Standard residential downspouts are compatible with aluminum extensions, which you can install yourself or with a professional’s help.
  • Accordion-style elbows: Plastic downspout extenders have an accordion design so you can bend them to your desired drainage location. These require routine cleaning because the ridges can collect debris and cause clogs.
  • Splash blocks: This option, often made of concrete or plastic, sits on the ground beneath the downspout. To effectively funnel runoff, the soil should slope away from the house, not toward it.
  • Low-profile downspout connectors: Choosing an extender that sits low to the ground is ideal for aesthetic purposes.
  • Buried drain pipes: If you’re concerned about runoff anywhere in your yard, consider installing an underground drain pipe. The downspout can then feed directly into this drain, where it discretely carries water off your property.

If your gutters have seen better days, consider replacing them with help from High Point Gutter, serving businesses in Snohomish and King Counties since 2016. We love what we do, and we’re proud of our work! To ensure your satisfaction, every member of our gutter installation team receives hands-on training before performing fieldwork. Call us today at (425) 449-6622 or contact us online to request residential gutter services. We look forward to making you our next happy customer!