Why Bury a Downspout?

A gutter downspout.
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When looking at a house, you’ll see that the downspout running down from the gutters is buried in the ground. Occasionally, downspouts are fitted in such a way that lets the water come out of the downspout to spread into the garden with the use of an extender. However, there are many good reasons why people might bury a downspout. Read on to learn about how burying a downspout can increase the look of a home, outdoor safety, and the function of the draining system.


Some people like to have their downspouts buried because it improves the line of the house. This can often be seen at the front of the house where things are more likely to be on view. Burying the downspout keeps everything much cleaner and with some architectural designs, it can be incredibly practical in keeping a house looking as it really should. People also do this with older houses to maintain a squared, angular appearance. That said, most people would never see this as a particularly important reason for burying a downspout.


Another reason for burying a downspout is safety. When a tail is put on the end of a downspout, it’s possible that people could trip over it. Children could be running around or guests could be walking around the property. Catching oneself on a downspout could result in injury and in some cases, this could end up with a lawsuit.

The tail is fitted so water is pushed away from the house and this is necessary to preserve the ongoing structural integrity of the foundation. Rather than using a tail that is 12 inches long or more which can trip people, homeowners opt for burying the downspout or using an extension that rolls out when water runs into it. Holes in this extension mean the water is distributed away from the ground and the extension automatically rolls up as it dries. This has a practical use but doesn’t look particularly good. People can still trip over the extension.


The main reason for burying the downspout is to carry the water away from the foundation. To do this, the downspout needs to be angled slightly away from the house. In areas with plenty of rainfall, it could empty into a French drain. This is essentially a trench filled with gravel that lets the water trickle into the earth.

By keeping the downspout emptying into a trench that carries it from the foundation, you’re keeping the house much safer as it reduces the risk of the foundation weakening. This system also has the added green benefit of returning the water to the ground. Not burying the downspout or installing a system that will disperse the water will allow it to pool around the foundation and this can eventually cause problems, especially in very damp climates with high rainfall.

However, the downspout does need to be buried properly, around 18 inches below the ground, to put it below the frost line. It should run into a sloping trench with a depth of 30 inches at the far end. The trench also needs to be 15 inches wide. This will allow for the proper run-off of water.