When it comes to keeping your foundation dry, gutters and downspouts are unsung heroes. Gutters channel the water off your roof while downspouts funnel it away from your home, but other than an occasional cleaning, it’s easy to forget about them!
You might not realize how important your gutters are until you hear that only 2.5 centimetres of rain on the roof of an average home produces over 3000 litres of runoff. That’s a lot of water! If you don’t have the proper gutter and downspout system, that runoff could cause basement damage.
While downspouts are very effective at directing water away from your home, they’re only as good as the distance they extend away from your foundation. If they aren’t long enough, though, torrents of water will find their way right next to your foundation. This can cause seepage into the walls causing regular problems you might encounter every spring, like water spots, mustiness, and seepage. Worse yet, water that isn’t diverted away from your home can cause more serious damage like foundation movement!
Extending Your Downspouts
Extending your downspouts is an important part of preventing annual water damage. To start, make sure the downspout carries water at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) away from the foundation; depending on the room around your home, adding an extra foot or three to this distance can’t hurt! If you have proper grading around the house, this should be far enough to ensure that the water flows away from the home. The spouts should be pointed towards a permeable surface such as the grass or a garden, or towards the curb and the storm drain on the street.
Adding a downspout extension is an easy project, too! Take a piece cut to the right length and attach it securely to the existing downspout using a galvanized gutter elbow. You can help the extension by laying a concrete slab called a splash block beneath it. The splash block provides an impermeable surface to direct the water away from the foundation rather than letting it sit parallel to the ground. You can also add a section of horizontal pipe at the end of the downspout.
Make Sure Your Gutters Are Clean, Too!
Annual cleaning is an absolute must, both before the spring and winter seasons. Remove leaves and debris with your gloved hands, then run water through them with a hose starting from the highest point. This prevents water from spilling over the side and onto the ground next to your foundation. Getting up close and personal with your gutters also lets you check for any leaks to patch!
If you’re not secure working on a ladder or your gutters are too high off the ground, contact a professional drainage service to take on this job. They can save you a lot of time, prevent injuries, and stop water from pooling around your foundation.