Downspouts play a significant role in channeling rainwater or snowmelt from a roof, and that’s why every homeowner needs to know how to repair a downspout. A downspout can get clogged, broken, or frozen. If not fixed, the issues could cause more damage.
A downspout in good working condition protects your home or landscape from potential water damages. It routes the rainwater from your gutters into drains rather than allowing the water to land near your house perimeter. That’s why you must fix it when damaged.
Worry no more if you don’t know how to repair a gutter downspout — this guide explores the common downspout issues and how to fix them. The good news is that downspouts are easy to repair. You can restore them yourself or hire a roofing contractor for help.
How to Repair Gutter Downspout Problems
Like your gutters, downspouts are susceptible to conditions that might cause damage, including strong winds, falling debris, and freezing water. If you notice the downspouts not functioning correctly, you need to do the following:
- Identify the cause of the downspout problem
- Fix the issue by repairing or replacing the downspout (or contact a professional to repair the issue)
Here are the common downspout problems you need to fix.
- Clogged Downspouts
Like gutters, downspouts can also get clogged with debris, leaves, and animal droppings. When these materials collect in the gutter, they spread and fill up the downspout, blocking water from draining down. It’s a gradual process.
So, how do you know that your downspouts are clogged? Watch out for these signs:
- Gutter Overflows: Whenever your gutters start to spill water over the edges, the chances are high that you have a clogged downspout. That is if the gutters look clean. Your gutters must never overflow unless there’s heavy rainfall.
- Leaking Seams: If clogs occur near seams of the downspouts, they will exert pressure and dislodge worn-out sealants. As a result, the seams will begin to leak. Consider investing in seamless gutters to avoid this problem.
The best way to fix clogged downspouts is by cleaning and maintaining them regularly, especially during windy and rainy seasons. You can also install a gutter protection system to reduce obstructions in the downspout.
- Narrow Downspouts
If your downspouts are too narrow or small, they’ll dispel water close to your foundation. That will increase the risks of clogging since large debris can get stuck as they try to find their way through the gutters. To fix this problem, get a wider downspout.
So, how do you determine the right size of downspouts for your home? Here are the factors to consider.
- Roof Pitch: Steeper roofs tend to collect more rainwater in the gutters. That’s because water drainage and flow rate along the roof will be high. So, you’ll need a wider downspout for your steep roof to cope with the faster drainage.
- Roof Surface Area: The roof’s total surface area also contributes a lot to the size of gutters and downspouts for your home. You can get this information from the roofing contractor that installed your roofing system.
- Rainfall Intensity: Homes in areas that receive heavy rainfalls need large-sized downspouts for drainage purposes. So, check the strongest rainfall recorded in your region by consulting the National Weather Service.
If you discover that your downspouts are too narrow to drain the rainwater on your roof, consider replacing them with wider options.
- Frozen Downspouts
Like rainwater, ice can also accumulate in the downspouts during winter. This usually happens when the gutters have obstructions that slow down the water flow. A blockage at the downspout’s mouth can also reduce water flow, causing the downspout to freeze.
So, what do you have to do when your downspouts freeze constantly?
To melt the frozen water, you can salt the ground surface near the downspout. Also, inspect the gutters and downspouts before winters to ensure no dirt is in the structures. If you don’t know how to check the water channels, hire a roofing contractor to help.
The best way to fix this problem is by installing heated gutter systems to help melt the ice and snow in the gutters and downspouts. The heated systems keep the gutters clear, reducing the maintenance required on the downspouts.
Other Downspout Problems to Repair for Efficient Drainage
Besides your downspouts being narrow, clogged, or frozen, you also need to act fast when you notice the following defects in your home.
- Downspout empties water too close to your house, collecting water around the foundation. This might cause the water to drain into your basement.
- Downspout empties water onto a slope facing the house. As a result, all the water from the downspout will flow towards the foundation rather than away.
- Loose or missing downspouts can also cause the rainwater to fall on the ground without direction. Consider repairing or replacing the missing downspouts.
What Happens When You Fail to Repair Your Downspouts
Both your gutters and downspouts must always be in good working condition for proper drainage during precipitation. If they get damaged, you should repair or replace them promptly to avoid water damage. Failure to fix the problems can cause the following:
Water can accumulate around your house and penetrate the foundation even if it has waterproofing material. If your foundation is made of concrete, the excess water can brittle and crack the building material. Your foundation will eventually get damaged.
Increased Soil Moisture
When the water from the downspouts doesn’t drain into the drainage channels, it will collect on the soil around the house. As a result, the soil’s moisture level will rise, which could sink the house or split it into two. You’ll notice some cracks on the walls.
Your basement can flood a lot when the water collecting around the house seeps through the windows and walls. Besides damaging the drywall and other structures in your basement, the floodwater will encourage mold and mildew growth.
A well-functioning downspout promotes proper drainage of rainwater. If your downspout gets damaged or clogged, consider fixing it before the problem exacerbates. The good news is that you now know how to repair a downspout. If your roofing system is complex, consider hiring Roof Master professionals to help you fix the downspout. Contact us now to talk to one of our roofing experts about your downspouts.