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Meticulous homeowners will put their nose to the grindstone when it comes to protecting their residential property and boosting its curbside appeal. One of the most affordable and effective ways to accomplish these goals is to add extensions to your gutter downspouts. Here, a premier gutter installation contractor takes a closer look at the reasons to consider downspout extensions for your home.
What Are Downspout Extensions?
A downspout extension is an additional accessory to your gutter system that is installed at the end of the downspout. It is designed to allow rainwater or snowmelt to fall to a drain in the ground in a controlled manner, then divert it away from the foundation of your home.
Generally, there are three types of downspout extensions:
- Flexible – These corrugated plastic pipes are flexible enough to transport water where it needs to go, such as around bushes. For extra-long extensions, adapters can be purchased to connect the downspout to standard flexible drainage pipes.
- Roll-out – Roll-out downspout extensions automatically roll out when the rain pours and coils up when water stops streaming out of the downspouts. One disadvantage of this type of extension is that it might not stretch out if the rainfall is not heavy enough.
- Flip-up – Flip-up extensions have a hinge attached so they can be flipped up and out of the way when not needed. This add-on is convenient when it is time to mow a portion of the lawn close to your home.
Who Can Benefit From Downspout Extensions?
Virtually any residential owner should consider adding extensions to their downspouts, especially those who live in areas that are prone to pooling or puddling around the foundation of their homes. Downspout extensions are also a great addition to homes that are situated on a sloped land or at the bottom of hills. Even homeowners who are simply looking to safeguard their basements against flooding and other water damage can benefit greatly from adding these extensions to their homes.
Reasons to Add Downspout Extensions to Your Gutter System
Downspout extensions offer a simple and effective solution to residential owners seeking to improve the look and functionality of their beloved homes. Here is a look at some of the most pressing reasons to install extensions to your gutter system:
- It helps avoid flooding. Flash flooding is a notable concern in cities that see months and months of heavy rain, although a lot of homeowners without basements feel that they are immune to flood damage. Regrettably, the threat of flash flooding can occur anywhere and usually is so great that every homeowner could do with the extra protection that gutter system accessories – such as downspout extensions – can provide. By effectively channeling water away from your foundation during heavy rainfall or severe storm, extensions can head off flooding.
- It helps prevent mold growth. Mold thrives in damp, humid and wet conditions, which is why it is essential to keep your home as dry as possible. When excessive moisture seeps into your home either through the roofing or walls, mold and mildew are likely to form and spread. This growth is not only unpleasant to look at, but also hazardous to the health and well-being of the residents. Exposure to mold can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions, such as coughing, itchy eyes and restricted breathing. With a good seamless gutters system equipped with downspout extensions, however, you can prevent the growth of mold and safeguard against the health risks it poses.
- It helps deter termites and other pests. When the weather is humid, standing moisture around your foundation does not only encourage microbial growth, but it also allows termites and other critters to take shelter in your home. To prevent having to deal with these complications and spending thousands of dollars to fix moisture damage and pest infestation, you need to make sure that your downspouts are effectively draining water away from the foundation of your home. This can be done by adding downspout extensions to your gutter system.
- It helps improve the beauty of your home. While it is true that you would not want to have standing water around the exterior of your home because it hints at problems with your gutter and drainage system, it is also a significant distraction from the overall beauty of your residence. Discoloration of walls, wallpaper that is peeling off, the odor of mildew, or carpeted flooring that has become moist and spongy are not exactly the things homeowners would want. A gutter system that features downspout extensions can help fend off all these problems by draining water in an efficient and precise fashion all year long.
- It helps protect your garden. The soil in your garden can only soak up so much water. Once it reaches its limit, the water running off from your roof can pool on the ground, flood your plants and flowerbeds, and wash seeds away. By siphoning excess water away from the finished landscape of your residence, you let the natural ecosystem of plants, birds, pollinators and other wildlife thrive and flourish. Moreover, a healthy garden can contribute to the health of the environment and your family.
How to Extend Downspouts
As a rule of thumb, extensions should be attached to existing downspouts and routed away from your home. Experts generally recommend that downspouts drain at least 10 feet away from the foundation. If possible, the natural grading of the yard should be incorporated to exponentially improve the flow of drainage and move the water farther from your home. Once the downspout extensions are in place, they can be buried underneath the ground – at least five to six inches below the surface is enough. Depending on your residence and its grading, you may want a little over 10 feet of extensions.
While adding extensions to your gutter system can be tackled as a DIY task in spring or fall, it is best to bring on a skilled contractor to make sure every moving part is up to standard. Apart from that, the contractor will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to determine what other issues you may have. If no outstanding problems are found, then great. But if the contractor does spot signs of damage – such as sagging, cracking, leaks, rust and fading paint – then they will be able to address them before things spiral out of control. A good contractor will help decide what actions you need to take and when you should take them.
What to Consider When Extending Downspouts
Installing downspout extensions is a practical way to ensure roof runoff does not wash away your home’s foundation. You need to keep in mind, however, that not all extensions are created equal. Furthermore, when comparing installers, take some time to research the installer’s commitment to quality workmanship and professional service. Here are telltale signs that you are selecting the right gutter contractor to install your downspout extensions:
- Experience – Choose a company that has been in the gutter and downspout business for at least a decade and has an established reputation in the area they are serving.
- Certifications – Seek out industry-based certifications, such as by the Better Business Bureau, and accreditations from environmental agencies.
- Service – Find a full-service provider who specializes in providing top-notch gutter installation, repair and maintenance.