Downspouts are an integral part of a gutter system, and it’s extremely important to get them properly positioned and adequately cleaned so that they do their job correctly. One of the things that can happen if the downspouts and gutter installation are done incorrectly is that the foundation drainage of homes is affected.
Downspouts are vertical hollow cylinders that carry the rainwater from the gutter system on the eaves to the ground. The bottom end of a downspout has an elbow-shaped bend or diverter that directs water away from the building.
When Things Go Wrong with a Gutter System
A number of factors can cause downspouts to function incorrectly and water to pool near foundations:
- Debris clogs up the gutters and downspouts, causing water to overflow haphazardly from the gutters.
- Damaged or cracked downspouts spray water over the building.
- Incorrectly placed downspouts drain too close to the house.
- An insufficient number of downspouts.
- Ground that slopes toward the building.
One inch of rain falling onto a 1,000-square-foot roof will cause 600 gallons of water to pour into the gutters and downspouts. The Raleigh, North Carolina, area receives over 40 inches of precipitation per year, which is a lot of water gushing through a home’s downspouts.
If this water is directed into one place, eventually the ground becomes waterlogged and the water soaks into the foundations of the home. Once foundations get overloaded with water the following can happen:
- The pressure of the water causes foundations to crack or move inwards.
- Soil along the foundations may wash away, causing the foundations to settle or shift.
- Moisture gets into the cracks in the foundations, and mold will start to grow, there may have be an infestation of mosquitoes or other insects, and unpleasant, musty odors permeate the building.
- Termites may enter the cracks in the foundations once the water has disappeared and begin to eat away at the structure.
How to Prevent Foundation Damage
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that downspouts should empty into lateral piping that directs water at least 5 feet away from the foundations of homes. This will improve foundation drainage and prevent damage from occurring.
A reputable contractor should be employed to undertake downspout and gutter installation. They will have the expertise to ensure that the whole system is placed correctly with a sufficient number of downspouts so that problems with foundation drainage are not experienced. Gutters and downspouts need to be cleaned out at least every six months or leaf guards installed on the gutter system to prevent a build-up of debris.
For more information on downspouts and gutter installation contact NC Gutter Guys, Inc. today. Our company’s roots go back to the 1920s, and we treat our clients with professionalism and respect and supply a proven product.