Author Topic: Why every house should have downspout extensions  (Read 5766 times)

bzzzt

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Why every house should have downspout extensions
« on: June 01, 2015, 08:25:28 PM »
My house is almost 60 years old and none of the previous owners ever used downspout extensions on one side of the house. The side of the house is down about 2", which isn't horrible since it's the garage. However, with the amount of step cracking in the brick fascia, it's had me wondering if there's more headaches below grade.

Combine no downspout extensions with bad grading, and you run into this nightmare. The brick of the wing wall was loose, so I pulled it to take a look before tuckpointing. I noticed the foundation block below it was tilted, so I started digging after breaking up the asphalt. Turns out that the only good block in this location is the one directly on the footing. Looks like I'm going to get real good at replacing foundation block...

paddedhat

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 09:00:54 PM »
It's amazing what exterior water management, or lack of, can do.  I got home from down south in early spring, and after the first good rain, the humidity in my crawl space spiked, and stayed that way, which is pretty unusual. I then figured out that the gutters had gotten clogged (again) with leaves, and water was overflowing, evenly saturating the concrete wall. Fifteen minutes with the step ladder, and leaf blower, and my crawl moisture started to go away.

Making Cookies

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2015, 09:18:05 PM »
I have a duplicate problem. I have downspout extensions but I think this one is disconnected slightly. Cracked brick, ground has settled around that corner of the house, small retaining wall has settled.

Have to rebuild.

Fishindude

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2015, 06:22:22 AM »
If you build a house or structure correctly from the start, you don't need gutters or downspouts.
You need a hard surface for the water to splash on where it runs off roof so it doesn't erode the soil, then a good positive slope away from the structure to take the water away.

I build for a living and try to steer folks away from gutters and downspouts whenever possible.
These are just another item that won't get maintained (cleaned).  They plug up with leaves and debris, then cause leakage.
In the right conditions they can also freeze solid full of ice, then when the thaw starts, more leakage and problems.

Papa bear

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2015, 07:07:35 AM »

If you build a house or structure correctly from the start, you don't need gutters or downspouts.
You need a hard surface for the water to splash on where it runs off roof so it doesn't erode the soil, then a good positive slope away from the structure to take the water away.

I build for a living and try to steer folks away from gutters and downspouts whenever possible.
These are just another item that won't get maintained (cleaned).  They plug up with leaves and debris, then cause leakage.
In the right conditions they can also freeze solid full of ice, then when the thaw starts, more leakage and problems.

I haven't heard or seen this before...  I imagine in my head you building on a concrete hill with a 12/12 slope! Ha!

Where I have familiarity geographically (own and built in OH and western NY) downspouts used to be tied into drain tile and dumped into sewer lines (not a good idea they found out) and then later dumped into storm drain runoff. When houses have downspout extensions it's most likely that their drain tile is filled with roots and the extensions were the cheap fix. 

Water is very bad for homes.




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Fishindude

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 08:54:24 AM »
I haven't heard or seen this before...  I imagine in my head you building on a concrete hill with a 12/12 slope! Ha!

Go to northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or any other high snow area.   They don't have gutters because the ice and snow tear them off.
It also rains frequently in these climates and doesn't cause them problems because they have set up their drainage properly.

We get called out to repair roof leaks all the time.
Can't tell you how many times the issue is clogged gutters or downspouts due to lack of maintenance.  The percentage is high!

Why put a feature on your home that requires extra maintenance, when with a little planning it can be eliminated?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 03:49:45 PM »
I have always lived in a moderate (variable, some years there is a lot of snow) snow area, and we have always had gutters/downspouts.

When I moved into this house, the sump pump ran a lot, even though the grading was correct.  I added extensions to all the downspouts, and now the sump only runs in wet weather.  I am on heavy clay (Leda clay, for the geologists) so once the ground is saturated it is saturated.  But the extensions do help.

Landslave

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 10:05:23 PM »
My house is almost 60 years old and none of the previous owners ever used downspout extensions on one side of the house. The side of the house is down about 2", which isn't horrible since it's the garage. However, with the amount of step cracking in the brick fascia, it's had me wondering if there's more headaches below grade.

Combine no downspout extensions with bad grading, and you run into this nightmare. The brick of the wing wall was loose, so I pulled it to take a look before tuckpointing. I noticed the foundation block below it was tilted, so I started digging after breaking up the asphalt. Turns out that the only good block in this location is the one directly on the footing. Looks like I'm going to get real good at replacing foundation block...

So interesting to learn about things that one never has to deal with in another climate.  My home is in Florida, built on piers, and doesn't have a basement.  Sandy soil.  Never freezes.  The subtropical rain is so hard there is no use for a gutter....the rain would just overspill them or tear them off the house (can easily rain 3 inches in 20 minutes and be running 3 feet deep in the street--hard to imagine tropical rain unless you've experienced it). 

Thanks for educating me on something new!

sunshine

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2015, 06:53:24 AM »
I haven't heard or seen this before...  I imagine in my head you building on a concrete hill with a 12/12 slope! Ha!

Go to northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, or any other high snow area.   They don't have gutters because the ice and snow tear them off.
It also rains frequently in these climates and doesn't cause them problems because they have set up their drainage properly.

We get called out to repair roof leaks all the time.
Can't tell you how many times the issue is clogged gutters or downspouts due to lack of maintenance.  The percentage is high!

Why put a feature on your home that requires extra maintenance, when with a little planning it can be eliminated?

I have lived in WI 25 years. Most of our homes have gutters.

Jacana

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Re: Why every house should have downspout extensions
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2015, 07:54:20 AM »
Just wanted to add if you do have extensions, be careful what kind you use. If you have the cheap popular black accordian-style ribbed extensions, they can retain water in each little section and some species of mosquitoes can breed there. Even if they are underground. Some newer ones are sold with slits to allow the remaining water to escape, don't know how well that works. If they are already installed and you have a mosquito problem, you can suspend a mosquito dunk inside the downspout with string so that passing water picks up the active ingredient. Replace once a month all season long. Alternative is to use a smooth surface like pvc and a proper grade.