Rain gutters play an essential role in collecting roof runoff during a storm. If that water isn’t carried far enough away from the house, you risk damage to your foundation or basement.
Downspout extensions will help your downspouts direct water to a specific place away from your home’s foundation. Installing extensions is a straightforward fix that’s easily a do-it-yourself project.
How far should a downspout extend from the house?
A lot of homeowners wonder how far their extensions should go. Factors like location, accessibility and landscaping come into play, so it’s not always a clear-cut answer.
To be safe, aim for a 4-foot minimum extension away from a downspout. Use longer extensions to make sure you’re getting all that water away from your home.
Let’s get into the six best methods we’ve found for extending your home’s downspouts.
1. Aluminum Extension
This one’s a popular solution for a few good reasons. Aluminum downspout extensions are inexpensive, low maintenance and can be installed in seconds. A couple downsides are they don’t always jive with your curb appeal and a rigid design limits where you can direct rainwater. That said, this is still one of the easiest fixes on our list.
2. Buried Drain Pipe
On the flip side, burying drain pipe is more work-intensive, but it’s a guaranteed way to keep water away. The most difficult part is digging the trench. Besides making sure the slope is correct, you’ll want to make sure the pipe run ends in a good location. We suggest topping the pipe off with a pop up emitter. Before you know it, you’ll be all set for the next downpour.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle off digging, you’re in luck! There are a few more methods to extend downspouts above ground besides the aluminum extension.
Like aluminum extensions, StealthFlow easily connects to downspouts. The reason we’d choose this over aluminum? It’s a bit more lowkey. Homeowners with a lot of landscaping will be happy to hear that this plastic downspout extension was designed to be hidden. Whether you choose rocks or mulch, this extension can be put out of sight and out of mind.
Check out this video to see how easy connecting StealthFlow is!
4. Decorative Splash Blocks
Splash blocks are rectangular channels that disperse water flowing from your downspouts. They range from decorative to basic, plastic or metal, and wide or narrow. Whichever you choose, they do a great job keeping water from seeping into the grass around your home.
The key part of installation is making sure your yard is graded properly, otherwise it defeats their purpose.
A word of advice: make sure the open end is pointed away from the house. If they came with the house, go out and do a quick double check. Sometimes builders install them backwards when they lay grass seed so it doesn’t wash away.
5. Roll-Out Drain Sleeves
Roll-out extensions are designed to uncoil during heavy rain and disperse water from little holes. Once the flow stops, they roll back up—kind of like a party blower, but for your downspouts.
These sleeves do have some shortcomings. Despite their easy installation, they aren’t always made of the best quality plastic. Tears can happen. Also, if the rainfall isn’t heavy enough, the sleeve might not fully extend.
6. Rain Barrel
Rain barrels collect water from your gutters into a large tank, which you can use to water flowerbeds and vegetable cards or even wash your car. This won’t extend your downspout per se, but it’s an eco-friendly way to collect and reuse rainwater.
Your gutter system is only as good as your downspout drainage. Extending them is a necessary project to keep your home safe from damaging rainwater. The good news is there’s a fix for every budget and DIY skill level!
Check out our Drainage Solutions board on Pinterest for downspout drainage ideas and more.