Burnt clay brick gutters made guttering history as early as 3000 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization. Back then, rainwater was channeled and collected for domestic use.
Today, with abundant water supply from modern plumbing, we no longer have to collect rainwater. Yet, we do have to protect our buildings from potential damage caused by rainwater. So, downspouts were introduced to safeguard buildings, foundations, and basements.
Recently, rollup downspouts were introduced as one of several downspout extension options to drain rainwater farther away from the building. Yet, do rollup downspouts work?
Let’s find out.
Do Rollup Downspouts Work?
Rollup downspouts work if you live in an area that gets moderate rainfall.
However, if your region experiences heavy rainfall, the steady water can overpower the downspouts, causing them to crack or even shatter completely.
Furthermore, rollup downspouts can get clogged if the rain washes away leaves and other debris from your roof.
Rollup Downspout Pros
If you’re lucky to have moderate rainfall in your region, rollup downspouts will put your mind at ease. With straightforward installation and a fraction of the cost of other models, rollup downspouts can easily become your go-to option.
Here are some of the ways rollup downspouts solve common extension issues.
Handle Unexpected Rainfall
Rollup downspouts are always ready for unexpected rainfall. They’re designed to roll down as soon as they fill with rainwater.
You’ll also appreciate this intelligent rolldown response even more if you’re a frequent traveler. You won’t need to check the forecast before leaving or worry about your walls getting drenched if your area is hit with unexpected showers.
A Healthy Lawn
Fixed downspout extension models exert pressure on the grass underneath, leading to damaged lawn patches. These extensions also cause grass discoloration because they keep the grass in the shade all day long.
On the other hand, rollup downspouts extend only when it rains. The weight of the drained water is evenly distributed in the pipe, which extends to accommodate the increased capacity of rainwater.
Additionally, the weight is quickly released as the water seeps through the tube holes. If you want, you can always punch in more holes for an even faster release.
An Obstacle-Free Garden
An extended tube on your lawn isn’t very aesthetic. Every time you have guests, you’ll have to remove the extensions to keep the area looking presentable.
This is where the rollup downspout comes to the rescue. They can be quickly tucked in and out of sight.
More importantly, they don’t pose a tripping hazard, especially to young children running around. When the sky is clear, rollup downspouts can be put away within 45 minutes for unhindered walking and lawn mowing.
Rollup Downspout Cons
Rollup downspouts have some significant issues that might go beyond aesthetics, especially if it rains heavily where you live.
In some cases, rollup downspouts fail to fully roll down when filled with rainwater. As a result, the water gushes from the connection between the pipe and the downspout.
Obviously, this renders the entire set-up ineffective as the water will be leaking near the same walls you’re trying to keep dry.
To avoid this problem, make sure you securely seal the tube to the downspout. You might even opt for a custom nailed connection instead of the typical zip-tie that comes with rollup downspouts.
More often than not, it’s not only rainwater that runs down the downspout. You can expect to find leaves, debris, and small shingle parts getting flushed down off the roof.
Unfortunately, rollup downspouts weren’t designed for these conditions. Since the pipe openings can only pass water, the system won’t function as intended if it’s filled with debris. As a result, your rollup downspout might get clogged within a week.
There is no solution to this clogging problem except for regular cleaning and maintenance.
Difficult to Clean
Rollup downspouts can’t be opened from both ends. When extended to full length, the pipe gives way to a broader opening to let more water out. Aside from the holes through the length of the pipe, the rollup downspout is fully sealed to roll down with water pressure.
The only cleaning solution is to detach the pipe from the downspout to clear the clogged debris. This process of disconnecting and then re-connecting the pipes after every rainfall makes them high-maintenance compared to other options.
Rollup Downspout Alternatives
By now, you’re probably trying to come up with alternatives to the rollup downspout. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Solid Hinged Extensions
You can use a typical stiff extension with a twist. Contact a gutter specialist and ask them to design and produce a hinged joint for your spout. Make sure it can easily raise and lower the extension arm.
The best advantage of custom-made downspout additions is that you can let your imagination go beyond what’s available in the market.
For instance, the typical commercial extension is up to five feet in length, which might not be ideal if there’s a paved area around your house. In this case, you can request a longer hinged extension to reach across the lawn.
Some fancy solutions in the market offer the same advantages of the rollup downspout but at a higher price.
One example is AutoSpout. This model is designed to extend a stiff-hinged arm when it rains and return to its original position afterward. Even though it’s not as budget-friendly, it’s a popular choice because it’s user-friendly, convenient, and versatile.
Digging a Trench
If all the previous solutions don’t sound appealing, why not keep the downspout extension out of sight and replace it with an underground drainage tube?
The french drain is an affordable long-term solution for draining rainwater. You can complete the whole project yourself. Plus, you can find all the tools you need at your local supply store, and they’re relatively cheap, so you won’t end up paying all that much.
So, do rollup downspouts work? In a nutshell, yes.
Rollup downspouts can be very efficient, but only in ideal conditions. Unfortunately, they can’t handle heavy rainfall. They also get clogged easily, which means regular clean-ups are a must!
Every downspout extension has its pros and cons. Still, in the case of rollup downspouts, their low price tag definitely makes them worth trying.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.