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Downspouts. How to use downspouts and guttering to defend your home against water damage.

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Defending Your Home Against Water

Constant exposure to water accumulating around your home will result
in costly problems which are time consuming to resolve. Rather than let
your home be adversely affected by such problems, follow these simple
steps to safeguard your home.

Gutters (also known as eavestroughs) and downspouts (also known as
leaders) should be free of debris that could obstruct water. Gutters
should be pitched towards the downspouts to accelerate water flow at a
slope of at least 1 inch for every 30 feet of length. To prevent leaks,
all joints must be caulked.


Diagram showing how downspouts should be sited on a building

Downspouts are normally situated at the corners of your home, fitted
properly with screws and sealer so that the lip at the top of the
downspout is on the inside of where it meets the gutter. A strip
fastener should be fitted every 5-6 feet to protect it from being moved
and damaged.

If your home is designed with surface drainage, an elbow is fitted
and sealed at the joint to the bottom of the downspout located just a
few inches above the ground. Water travelling through the downspout and
elbow hits a concrete or plastic cushion, called a splash block, pad or
plate. Properly placed splash blocks, inserted into the ground and
standing high enough to cushion the destructive pressure of falling
water, direct the flow towards a drainage path. The landscape
surrounding should slope away the foundation of your home, 6” over a
distance of 10′. Downspout
Extensions can be attached to the downspout if your splashblock or
landscape is insufficient in directing runoff water to a safe distance.

Houses located at the base of a hill will experience higher levels of
water accumulation, since the landscape surrounding is sloped towards
the house rather than away from it. In this case, a 2′-3′ wide and 6”
deep swale should be dug around the house to divert water.

For basements windows, wells should provide optimum drainage with a
layer of gravel at the bottom. A plastic bubble cover can be added to
prevent wells from filling with snow and water. An extension of 1” to
2” above the grade should be constructed for side walls.

Downspout extensions disperse rainwater away from your foundation.
Helps prevent wet basements and erosion damage to your lawns and



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