Whenever your basement is showing signs of leaking walls or even flooding, it is usually the result of a faulty gutter system. The most common cause of basement leaks is when the downspouts are too close to the home.
The purpose of gutters is to capture the water coming off of your roof, and re-direct (or channel) it from falling around your homes foundation. If there are no gutters, then the water is able to wash away your foundation and infiltrate your home. That’s why we suggest adding downspout extensions to your gutter system if you are experiencing any basement leak issues.
There are a few different types of downspout extensions that you can choose from so we’ll go ahead and explain them. Keep in mind that they all perform the same function, moving the water away from the home.
The aluminum downspout extension is usually just another section of downspout that is added on the bottom elbow. It runs horizontally and lets out in your yard away from the home. In the picture above, they rest on the ground. However, you can also prop them up with other gutter sections if you need to get over any obstacles.
This is a more stationary option. Once these are set in place, there is no moving them for lawn mowing or anything like that. We would recommend these if you are extending your gutters in a straight line no obstructions in the way.
The corrugated flex pipe is the most common option for downspout extensions. These are very easy to maneuver any way that you want them. And you can position them anywhere. You could point this extension to the middle of your yard one day, and once it gets too saturated from rain, go ahead and position these in another area away from the already soggy spot.
You can even pick these up to mow around and do other landscape tasks. The only downside for this style, is some dogs might try and chew it up. For some reason, they think these are toys. So keep an eye on your pups if you have these.
Corrugated flex pipe comes in a variety of colors and sizes. Some already have a pre-fitted adapter that attaches right to the end of your downspout, and for others you may need to get a separate adapter and clamp to secure them. Another thing to note, is that you can get these as long as you need. Some homes will run these 30-40 ft to take the water all the way out to the street.
Underground Drainage Systems are technically an extension of your downspout and gutter system, so we included them on our list. Basically they are Corrugated Flex Pipes or PVC Pipes that are installed underground and lead the water away from your home. They usually lead to the street, sidewalk, or even straight into the sewer system.
Sometimes you need to re-direct the water all the way to the street. However, having all those pipes above the ground will turn your yard into an obstacle course. That is why you see a lot of homes with these installed. They keep the yard from becoming over saturated while keeping the extension pipes hidden from view.
Underground Drainage systems do have their downsides as well. If you have these, it is highly recommended that you have gutter covers or gutter guards on your gutter covers. You can’t have any debris getting into these underground pipes, because they are very hard to keep clear. Furthermore, if you do get underground clogs, that will lead to basement flooding and your yard turning into a swamp. If your underground drain gets clogged, the only way to fix it, is to use a drain snake to unclog it. (Just like the kinds used for toilets) If your underground drain ruptures underground, you are going to need to call a landscaper and it is going to be an expensive repair, so be sure to keep all debris out of your underground drains.
The above 3 types are the most commonly used types of downspout extensions. But, there are many other types of extensions that you can purchase at a store or even order online. Remember, the purpose of these is just to make sure the water goes a few feet from the homes foundation.
You may have seen these around, as they are very very common. Splash Stones are placed under the downspout and their purpose is to take the water a few feet away from the house. They are very common in gardens or on mulched landscapes, as they prevent the water from digging a hole in your garden. If your home has mulch around the foundation, these are the suggested way to get the water over that area.
They are generally 2-3 feet long, but can be found in larger sizes. You can purchase these at any Home and Garden store, or even Lowe’s and Home Depot. Splash Stones can be found in many materials, but stone, PVC, and rigid rubber are the top choices.
The Rain Chute is another common way to get the water away from your homes foundation. They are basically the same as a splash stone, but they are much longer and feature taller sides. These can also be known as Rain Channels or Gutter Channels.
You can find these online or sometimes at home and garden stores. We would suggest something like this, over the splash stone, if you are needing to re-direct some water away from your home. Especially when the lawn goes all the way up to the house.
The last type of downspout extension we will be discussing today, is the Automatic Downspout Extension. This style is basically a vinyl bag on a spool. When it rains, the water fills up the bag and forces it to unroll. Once fully unrolled, the water comes out of little holes, kind of like a sprinkler. Then, when the rain stops, the bag rolls itself back up on the spool. (at least it’s supposed to)
These are ideal if you have soil erosion issues, or just want to keep your lawn evenly watered in that area. They are available in several sizes or colors. You can order these from multiple sources online, and attach them yourself.
If you are experiencing any types of basement leaks or floods, the first thing you want to make sure of , is that your water is draining properly away from your home. Adding extensions to your downspouts is a relatively cheap way to make sure that your roof run off isn’t washing away your homes foundation.
Here at My Gutter Pro, we only Install the first 2 types of extensions, Aluminum Gutter or Corrugated Flex Pipe. Underground Drainage Systems are usually installed when the home is built, but you could have them installed at any time. Keep in mind that it will be a very expensive solution, as the yard will have to be dug up. Most gutter companies do not install underground drains, you’d have to contact a landscaper. Splash Stones, Rain Chutes, and Automatic Downspout Extensions can be purchased at any home and garden store, or ordered online as well.
CLICK HERE for more information on Downspout Clogs.
If you still have any questions regarding Downspout Extensions, or any other gutter related question, feel free to send us an email and we’ll get back to you.
If you answered “yes” then you should be following My Gutter Pro on Facebook so you can receive seasonal reminders, DIY tips, promo offers, FAQs, contest and giveaways, and much more. Don’t delay, join the My Gutter Pro Team, today!!!
Gutter Accessories and Terminology – by My Gutter Pro
How often should I clean my gutters? – by My Gutter Pro
Gutter Maintenance Tips – by My Gutter Pro
What types of gutter are there? – by My Gutter Pro
Spring Gutter Cleaning Tips: FAQ/DIY Guide – By My Gutter Pro