Downspout Extension: Everything You Need to Know

Downspout Extension

If you’re a homeowner, you probably know how crucial it is to protect your property from water damage. Downspout extensions are a simple but effective way to do just that. They direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation, preventing flooding and other water-related issues.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of downspout extensions available, how to install them, and common issues and maintenance tips. We’ll also provide some troubleshooting tips and expert advice to help you keep your home dry during the rainy season.

downspout extension

What are Downspout Extensions and How Do They Protect Your Home

Are you familiar with downspout extensions? These little helpers may seem insignificant, but they can have a big impact on protecting your home from water damage. Let me explain:

First, let’s talk about what they are. Downspout extensions are the perfect complement to your gutter system. They are attached to your downspouts, and they serve to direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation. This is crucial, as without downspout extensions, all the water collected by your gutters will drain right near the base of your home. This can lead to a multitude of problems, including foundation damage, pest infestations, and excess moisture, among others.

However, with downspout extenders, you can rest easy knowing that your home is protected from these issues. They channel rainwater away from your property, preventing flooding, protecting your plants and waterbeds, and deterring termites from setting up shop in your home. Additionally, downspout extensions can prevent rainwater from accumulating on your rooftop, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars in structural damages.

Types of Downspout Extensions: Which One is Right for You?

Downspout extensions come in different types, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Buried Drainage Pipes

The first type is buried drain pipes that require a slope and flow pattern for the water to flow correctly. Though they need regular maintenance, they are a long-term solution to manage the flow of water.

Stealthflow Pipes

The second type is StealthFlow pipes that are made of grade A plastic and have small holes along their length, making them easy to disperse water. They are flat to the ground, which makes them easy to cover up with gravel or shrubbery.

Aluminum Extensions

Aluminum extensions are the most common and inexpensive, but their ability to direct water is limited, and they may not be aesthetically pleasing.

Splash Blocks

Splash blocks are trapezoid-shaped concrete slabs that extend the downspout without being attached to it, and they can be customized based on the homeowner’s preferences.

Rain Barrels

rain barrel
Downspout extension

The last type is the rain barrel, which collects and retains usable water, great for watering indoor plants and other foliage.

It’s important to review all options and get a professional opinion to determine the best solution for your home. Contractors for gutters and gutter repair consultants in your area have the expertise and know-how to ensure your home stays dry during rainy seasons. With just a little bit of effort, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in home repairs due to water damage.

How to Install Downspout Extensions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing a gutter downspout extension is an easy fix just like installing downspouts. In just 7 steps, you can extend your downspout and improve drainage.

  1. Before you start, remember to take safety precautions. You’ll need to dig a trench, so be sure to contact your utility company to identify any buried lines. When cutting PVC pipe, wear safety goggles to prevent injury.
  2. To start, use a string and stakes to lay out your trench, marking it with flour.
  3. Dig a trench at least 6 inches wide and sloped to drain away from the downspouts.
  4. Lay out your PVC pipe and fittings, starting with a downspout adapter and reducer coupling.
  5. Use a handsaw or power miter saw to cut a piece of pipe to fit between a 90-degree elbow in the trench and the coupling. Apply PVC cement to the mating surfaces and press the pipe onto the elbow.
  6. Insert the downspout adapter and reducer assembly into the pipe and continue laying the pipe, using 90-degree elbows at turns.
  7. Glue the parts together and check the slope with a level.

Common Issues with Downspout Extensions: Troubleshooting Tips

What are the common issues that may arise with downspout extensions and how can you troubleshoot them? Let’s take a look.


One issue that often plagues downspout extensions is clogs. Fortunately, this problem can be avoided with the help of gutter guards, which prevent debris buildup in both your gutters and downspouts. Additionally, seamless drain pipes without interior ridges make it difficult for unwanted objects to get stuck.

Improper Measurements

Another issue is improper length and width. Downspouts must have the proper size to effectively divert rainwater away from your foundation. Longer downspout extensions are better, and larger openings give debris more room to escape. When installing, aim for a minimum of 10 feet for slabs and crawl spaces, and 15 feet for basements.

Less Downspouts

Lastly, make sure you have enough downspouts to handle the amount of rainfall your home receives. A professional gutter and siding contractor can help determine if you need additional drain pipes.

Types of Underground Pipe Used

When installing downspout extensions, it’s important to use solid pipes like sewer and drain or corrugated pipe. Avoid running downspout extensions into footer or french drains, which are meant to gather water from soil using perforated pipe. Doing so can overload these drains and potentially cause flooding.

downspout extension
drain pipe

Maintenance and Cleaning of Downspout Extensions: Keeping Them in Good Condition

Keeping your gutter downspout extension in good condition is crucial to maintaining the overall health of your home’s foundation and walls. Luckily, there are DIY methods you can use to unclog your downspout extension and prevent future clogs especially if you have underground pipes.

One way to clear a clog is to use a drum auger. It’s easy to use and effective in removing obstructions.

  • To get started, insert the end of the drum auger into the bottom of the downspout, and push the line up toward the gutter.
  • Push the line as far as you can until you hit the clog, then turn the handle clockwise as you push the line into the blockage.
  • Use your non-dominant hand to push the line up and down and force it deeper into the clog.
  • Finally, rinse the downspout from above with clean water to ensure it drains properly.

However, prevention is key when it comes to clogged downspouts. Installing gutter guards can help keep debris, branches, leaves, and rodents out of your gutters and downspouts. Additionally, it’s important to keep nearby trees and vegetation trimmed to prevent fallen leaves and branches from clogging your gutters.

Regular inspection of your gutters is also crucial to prevent clogs. Make sure to check under your gutters, in the space between the gutters and the walls, and evaluate the inside of your gutter system. Check your downspouts from the gutter outlet all the way down to the end. Remember that the size of your downspouts must match the width of your gutters to prevent clogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are downspout extensions important?

Downspout extensions are important because they help protect your home’s foundation from water damage by directing rainwater away from the base of your home.

What types of downspout extensions are available?

There are various types of downspout extensions, including buried drainage pipes, StealthFlow pipes, aluminum extensions, splash blocks, and rain barrels. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to review all options and get a professional opinion to determine the best solution for your home.

How can you troubleshoot common issues with downspout extensions?

Some common issues that may arise with downspout extensions include clogging, improper measurements, and not having enough downspouts to handle the amount of rainfall your home receives. Troubleshooting tips include using gutter guards to prevent clogs, ensuring proper length and width of downspouts, and using solid pipes like sewer and drain or corrugated pipe.

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