Downspout drainage solutions help keep your foundation protected, so your crawlspace or basement stays dry and provides a solid base for your home. Whether it’s from heavy rains or snow melt, large amounts of uncontrolled water can harm your foundation directly or seep into the soil, creating conditions that impact your home’s health. Managing the flow of water through your gutter downspout drainage and directing it away from your home is not just part of waterproofing your foundation. It prevents the land surrounding your home from developing a dangerous level of moisture.
The Dangers Of Uncontrolled Runoff
Understanding downspout drainage solution options starts with understanding what can happen when the water coming off your house is allowed to pool too close to your home’s foundation. When precipitation falls on your home, it follows gravity, flowing downward along the angles of your roof’s geometry until it reaches the lowest point and leaves your roof. Without gutters, it falls directly to the ground, soaking the area directly next to your foundation where it can cause the most damage.
If you have gutters, the water enters them when it leaves your roof. Your home’s gutters, if well maintained, are designed to collect this water, directing it instead to a downspout, usually located on a corner of your home. The gutter downspout drainage channels water down to the ground, away from the foundation. If the water stays there, it can easily flood an area of your yard near the house. While not as widespread as when no gutters are present, it can be more concentrated, leaving a localized area with far more water than it can manage without help.
When water gets trapped around the walls of your foundation, damage happens. Water itself can erode concrete, cement, and the mortar between brick and stone. Worse, it fills the voids in the soil, adding weight and creating instabilities as it floods, dries, and then floods again. Eventually, the added weight and the fluctuations in your walls’ surroundings caused by the instabilities can lead to cracks, bowing walls, or structural damage. This opens up your basement to flooding, compounding damage, and a dangerous situation that puts your home, personal property, and even the health of your family members at risk.
Keeping Your Foundation Safer
Downspout drainage solutions are designed to keep your basement or crawlspace safer by moving water far away from it. While many people assume they can protect their homes by installing concrete splash blocks under their downspouts or downspout extensions, these aren’t effective solutions for any area that receives moderate to heavy precipitation. Splash blocks simply prevent direct erosion underneath the downspout without channeling the moisture away from the home, and most extensions fail to move meaningful amounts of water far enough away from your foundation to make an appreciable difference.
French Drains Move Lots of Water Fast
French drains are popular for correcting groundwater drainage and waterproofing basements because they are efficient at moving water, which means they play an important role in downspout drainage solutions. French drains are underground channels made from perforated pipes that allow water to enter them easily. Laid with a downward slope of at least 1.5” every 10 feet, gravity keeps the water flowing away from your foundation until it reaches a point of natural or manmade drainage outside the packed soil that sits around your home’s basement or crawlspace.
Gutter downspout drainage can easily be channeled into your French drain. Making existing French drains part of your downspout drainage solution is easy. Extensions are attached to deliver your downspout runoff directly into the drain system. Alternatively, separate pipes can be run parallel to your French drains, keeping the underground flow of water simple and predictable for future landscaping or construction projects.
Catch Basins Collect Water to Get It Moving
Sometimes confused with French drains, catch basins serve a similar purpose in a more localized area. Catch basins are installed underground at the low point of depressions in the ground and consist of a basin or container with a drain on top of it. This lets water enter the basin, which then directs it into a drainage pipe or into your French drains, which continue to move the water away from the flood-prone area.
Releasing The Water Where It’s Safe
The other end of your downspout drainage solution system releases the water that it’s collected. Some areas allow you to drain this water into municipal sewer or gutter systems directly. IF not allowed or if it’s not a practical consideration, the water can be drained into natural water collection systems, such as ditches or ponds, or dispersed with an emitter. Emitters return the water to the surface but spread it out over a larger area to soak into the soil away from your dwelling and enter groundwater naturally.
Making Sure Your Drainage is Efficient
To get the most out of your downspout drainage solutions, you’ll want to make sure your regular maintenance addresses a few common problem areas. These can impede the flow of water into your drain, keep the water from moving through the system, or cause it to back up, creating a dangerous, foul-smelling pool of stagnant water sitting under the surface of your property.
Guard Your Gutters
Gutter guards, covers, or strainers help keep leaves and twigs from entering your gutter downspout drainage. When they clog up the gutters or downspouts, water pools, overflowing the gutters instead of being guided by them, potentially leaving it around your foundation. If they make it to your drain system and clog there, they could back up your entire system, increasing the moisture in the soil surrounding your home because there’s nowhere else for it to go. Gutters should be cleaned out regularly, especially in fall, when the beautiful changing foliage can turn into a sodden mass in your downspout far too easily.
Flush Your Drains Annually
At least once a year, your French drains should be flushed out with a power washer or other pressurized flow of water. This helps power out any potential blockages before they can further build-up, impeding drainage. Your downspout drainage solution can be cleaned out from the downspout end or, if it’s accessible, from the distant end, using pressure to dislodge solid material. A steady stream of water can then be run through to rinse everything to the far drainage point of your system.
Plan Out Your Planting
When adding trees, bushes, or other landscaping to your yard, avoid planting too close to your downspout drainage solutions. These are a ready source of moisture and water, and the perforations in French drains may be attractive to tiny roots that will grow in time, damaging your drains. Keep the area around your drains clear and watch for invasive or unplanned growth.
Don’t Wait to Investigate Danger Signs
If you see warning signs that there may be an issue with your downspout drainage solutions, it needs to be investigated and addressed immediately. Random flooded areas along the drain line or noticeable depressions that happen quickly in line with your drain can be signs of potential clogs or damage. Often, the sooner a problem is identified, the easier and cheaper it is to fix.
Make Sure Your Home is Protected
You can get an expert to inspect your gutter downspout drainage and provide a written estimate tailored to your home’s protection without cost or obligation. Our trained professionals are ready to put their experience to work. They’ll identify threat factors, help you understand your mitigation options, and show you how cost-effective protecting your home can be. Schedule your free quote with AM Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.