What Are Downspouts and Why Are They So Important?

It is much easier to enjoy the sound of rainfall from inside your home when you know that your home is protected from harsh weather conditions. Unfortunately, when there is a problem with your gutter or downspouts, it can result in significant damage to your entire home very quickly. It is important to understand what a downspout is and why it is so important.

What Is a Downspout?

A downspout is a part of the gutter system. The gutters themselves are placed around the roof of your home. Downspouts run down from the gutters, directing the water down and away from your home. Without downspouts in place, your gutter system simply will not function correctly, as the water will not be able to leave the gutters safely and effectively.

Different Types of Downspouts

There are several types of downspouts available for residential and commercial structures.

Rectangular Downspout

This is one of the most common types of downspout styles in homes. These are typically available in three different sizes to ensure proper flow.

Round Downspout

This type of downspout is often used in combination with a half-round gutter system. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to ensure homeowners are able to find one that perfectly matches their gutter system.


This type of downspout is standard in most homes that have 5-inch K-style gutter systems. It is available in two different sizes to ensure a proper fit.

Do Downspouts Need to Be Burried?

If the water does not distribute evenly over your lawn after it exits the downspout, or it rains a lot where you live, then you may want to consider burying the downspouts. This involves mapping a route for the extensions to go and digging a trench to allow it to direct away from your home. Seeking professional help can ensure the job is done correctly so you do not have to worry about clogs and other issues that may arise if they are not installed or buried properly.

How Many Downspouts Are Needed?

There is no specific number of downspouts that every home will have. Instead, they are based on the total length of your gutters. In general, you will need to place one downspout every 40 feet of gutter run. The size of the downspout that you choose for your home will depend on the size of the gutter you have. In most cases, the size ranges between 5-inches and 8-inches. However, a 2-by-3-inch is best for small gutters, and a 4-by-5-inch downspout is better for larger sizes.

Can You Modify a Downspout?

There are some instances where you may find it beneficial to modify your downspouts. In general, if your gutter system is not routing the water away from the foundation of your home and there is pooling water, you will want to extend the gutter downspouts to ensure the water is directed an appropriate distance away. Water that pools at your foundation can eventually erode it and cause serious issues, such as cracks in your foundation or flooding in your landscape. Extending your downspouts can help to avoid these costly issues.

There are common extensions available made of either concrete or plastic. However, aluminum is also available to choose from. Consulting with a professional can help you better understand which option will work best for your property and your specific needs.

Do Downspouts Need to Be Cleaned?

Like all other components of your gutter system, you do need to maintain your downspouts. Part of the maintenance process involves cleaning the downspouts. You will want to use a bucket and a ladder to clean the gutters. Pour some water down the gutter and downspouts to make sure they are flowing correctly and draining properly.

In general, you will want to clean your downspouts and gutters at least twice a year. However, if you have a lot of leaves, debris, and branches falling in your yard and on your home, you may want to consider inspecting your gutters and cleaning them more often to avoid clogs.

You Should Inspect Your Gutter System

It is important to perform routine inspections of your gutter system to ensure they are functioning properly and not damaged. There are a few things you should look out for

Check for Cracks

If there are cracks in your gutters or downspouts, it can prevent water from flowing through correctly. This can lead to clogs and cause expensive and extensive damage to your roof, siding, and foundation. Early detection can help you avoid these issues.

Check for Pests

One sure sign of a clog in your gutters or downspouts is pests around your roof and attic. If the gutters are not draining correctly, it can lead to sitting water and decaying leaves. This can attract rats, roaches, and other pests. Pests can cause severe damage to your roof, so it is important to clean or repair your gutters quickly to clear up the problem.

Look For Pulling

If you notice that your gutters or downspouts are pulling away from your home, it could indicate that there is sitting water somewhere along the path. Pooling water or heavy debris can weigh down your gutters and cause them to slowly pull away from your home. This can eventually break off and cause severe damage. It is vital to address the problem as soon as possible if you notice this problem.

Look for Rust

Noticing any rust on your gutters or any downspout could indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the gutter system. As water exits the gutters through cracks, it can get behind the paint and lead to rusting. Rusting can eventually cause a complete failure in your gutter system, so addressing the problem early on is important.

Get Professional Help with Your Downspout in Cincinnati, OH

If you are having problems with your downspout and would like to see if it is time to repair or replace it, contact our team at Garrett Excavating in Cincinnati, OH, today. We can come to your home and perform an inspection to determine the extent of the damage. We will also go over all of the options available for your home. Contact us today to get started.

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