Gutters are designed to channel the water off your roof, and downspouts are designed to funnel that water away from your home. Unfortunately, the water isn't always carried far enough away and disaster can occur.
If heavy rains and short downspouts are causing the water to pool near the base of your home, it's worse than just a little flooding; your foundation can be compromised. A longer downspout is in order. In fact, if the water is seeping in through the foundation of your home already, this is a problem that you want to correct immediately. Water seepage can also lead to other problems such as mold, mildew, and dry rot. Fortunately, extending the downspout is an easy and simple remedy. First, you will need to make a few purchases and gather a few tools.
Extend the Downspout
Purchase a new length of downspout pipe that matches your old one's appearance. Measure the diameter of your existing downspout to make sure that you get the right size.
If the area where you will be placing your extension doesn't get a lot of foot traffic, you can add a simple extension of pipe. Use a hacksaw to cut a length from the new section. Six to eight feet is usually adequate, provided enough room exists. Attach this piece to the existing downspout and use a galvanized gutter elbow to attach it securely.
Use a Splash Block
If you have decided to use a splash block, simply place it underneath the downspout. Splash blocks help to direct the water onto the lawn and away from the house. Eventually, you may want to consider placing a permanent splash block underneath the downspout, but a removable downspout allows you to take it away if necessary.
If your existing downspout is located in an area that receives a great deal of foot traffic, such as walkways, driveways, and patios, you may want to make some special arrangements. Two separate options exist that will easily extend your downspout without limiting walking access to the area.
Attach a Roll-up Sleeve
A roll-up sleeve placed at the end of your existing downspout will sufficiently extend it to allow for drainage away from the home. Roll-up sleeves are perfect for those areas that need to remain uncluttered.
These objects fit snugly on the end of your downspout. When it rains, the sleeve unrolls to allow the gutter and downspout to channel the water away from the roof and foundation of your home. Then, once it has stopped raining and the water has stopped draining from your roof, the sleeve automatically rolls back up again.
Install a Hinged Elbow
Another option for extending a downspout in an area that needs to remain open is the swing-up elbow. If you install one on the end of your downspout, then you can flip it up and out of the way whenever you need it. Then, when it rains, simply flip it back to the ground to allow the rain to drain away from the home. You can allow the downspout to remain on the ground during any time that the area is not going to be used. For example, if it is located at your patio and you only use the patio during the summer months, the downspout can remain on the ground during the offseason. This decreases the number of times that you will need to adjust it.
(Bad gutters can not only damage your foundation but also your roof. Are your gutters contributing to roof damage?)