Gutters are an excellent way to divert rain away from your roof. They don’t require any power or manual operation.
Still, the system doesn’t store water, and it has to come out eventually. Usually, at the end of gutters, people install downspouts.
These are structures that help direct water. There are many versions of the water exit that you can choose from. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular downspout drainage options out there and their features.
The main function of gutters is to prevent water damage to your roof. They do that by collecting rain from the area and moving it somewhere else.
Usually, the water drains out in a spot near the back of the house, at the base. We call this section the downspout.
That means the water will pool at the bottom of your home. With a little rain, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Yet, when it rains cats and dogs, your house may be at risk. As the water funnels through the gutters onto the ground, it starts to erode the area.
Not only will this affect the overall look of the house, but it can also affect the foundation. Over time, the damage can make its way to the base of your home.
This can undermine the integrity of the house’s structure. To get around this issue, you can try a few downspout drainage options.
Downspout Drainage Options
Downspouts are attachments that link to your gutters and help divert the rain. Some of them utilize the water, while others focus on disposing of it.
So, let’s dive into the list of our top downspout drainage options.
1 – Metallic Extensions
One of the most basic types of downspouts is metallic extensions. These are pipes that elongate your gutter system.
Typically, these tubes consist of aluminum since it’s unreactive and lightweight. Using these extensions can ensure the water is far enough away from the house to not cause any damage.
To do that, the pipes should drain at least four feet from the foundation.
Other than keeping your foundation safe, the extensions are also easy to use. You can install them in a few minutes and remove them whenever you like.
This makes maintenance and cleaning a much easier process.
These pipes are also easy to customize. You can find a variety of shapes that will fit around corners and grooves to match your home’s landscape.
However, exposed pipes aren’t always an ideal solution. Metallic tubes aren’t exactly the most visually appealing addition to a house.
On top of that, even with many shapes, it may be tricky to match the pipes to every contour on the house.
2 – Drain Pipes
If you prefer a more concealed option, drain pipes may be the way to go. These are practically the same as metallic extensions, but they go underground.
The pipes are usually aluminum to match the gutters or a type of PVC plastic.
As you can guess, you need to dig around your house to install drain pipes. You’ll need to create an underground path large enough to accommodate the tubes.
With this downspout option, the pipes need to extend further away from the house. To be safe, it’s a good idea to go out as far as eight feet.
Aside from the distance from the house, you also have to consider the depth of the pipes. The tubes need to be at least one foot underground to be stable.
Yet, that may be too shallow. In some extremely cold areas, the ground can ice over. That means that the pipes, and any water inside, will also freeze.
In that case, plant the drain pipes below the frost line. This is different for every area, but generally, anything under four feet should be safe.
Doing so will ensure your pipes don’t freeze over, but will make maintenance difficult.
3 – Drain Sleeves
If you’re looking for a temporary solution to your downspout problem, drain sleeves may be the way to go. These are flexible tubes that come in a tight coil.
As soon as the water starts pouring down the gutters, the pipes will unfurl and extend away from the house.
That ensures that rain will pool a safe distance away from your house. In addition, the sleeves have tiny holes along the entire length.
These allow water to leak out at several distances. Not only will this disperses the water further, but it will also stop pressure from building in the pipes.
Then, once the rain stops, the sleeve will coil back up into its original shape. This makes the gadget much easier to store and clean up.
However, drain sleeves aren’t a great option with heavy rain flow. To maintain its flexibility, the tube walls are incredibly thin.
So, with repeated use, the sleeve can start to tear and fail. On top of that, if the rain flow is too low, the tube may not extend all the way.
This tricky balance means that drain sleeves are more of a patch rather than a solution.
4 – Pop-up Emitters
Pop-up emitters are a cross between drain pipes and sleeves. They use flexible tubes that go underground to divert water.
The first part of this process is similar to drain pipes. You want a clear path that’s below the frost line and at least eight feet away from your property.
Then, after installing PVC pipes, run flexible tubes through the path. These tubes will connect to the downspouts on one end and an emitter on the other.
Emitters are circular devices that can disperse water over large areas. This ensures that rain doesn’t pool anywhere to prevent run-offs.
Pop-up emitter tubes are flexible, but they’re sturdier than drain sleeves. That allows them to last for much longer.
Besides that, they’re also easier to maintain than drain pipes. You can pull out the tubes from the PVC shell and replace them in case of leaks.
However, emitters still need a sizable amount of pressure to operate. That means they won’t function with a light drizzle, which may lead to blockages.
5 – StealthFlow
StealthFlow is a version of regular extenders. Yet, instead of the hard metallic shell, it has a soft, bendable exterior.
This gadget doesn’t come in the traditional tube shape. It has a rectangular cross-section and an incredibly wide base.
That allows StealthFlow to distribute water over larger areas. In addition, this decreases the water pressure, which means it can handle heavy rain.
The main reason behind the unique shape is camouflage. Because it has a low profile, StealthFlow is much easier to hide than normal pipes.
You can place a few rocks around or position plants to hide the tubes from view.
Just like metallic extenders, StealthFlow is easy to assemble and dismantle. Plus, the shape makes cleaning a breeze.
Yet, even though the gadget can handle the rain, it may not be able to withstand heavy weather. There’s a chance a strong breeze can dislocate the tube.
On top of that, the soft exterior can degrade in the sun over time.
6 – Splash Blocks
If the idea of tubes coming out of your house doesn’t float your boat, check out splashing blocks. These are concrete or plastic structures that you place underneath your downspout.
Traditionally, they’re rectangular pieces that match the width of the downspout. They act as a sort of driveway for water to follow away from the house.
Still, splashing blocks come in all sorts of shapes and colors. That makes them one of the most decorative options on our list.
Splashing blocks should be able to divert plenty of water. Yet, you may need wide shapes if you experience heavy rain flow.
Unfortunately, these structures tend to slide around. As you can guess by the name, a lot of splashing occurs around the constructs.
So, as the ground underneath them dampens, they may move out of position. That means you’ll have to readjust them after every drizzle.
The only way around this issue is to plant the splashing blocks into the ground. This is effective, but it can be a real hassle.
7 – Rain Greenhouse
Many people don’t know that most rainwater is soft. That means it doesn’t contain any salts or minerals.
This makes it ideal for watering plants. While all the flora in the open will get their fill, greenhouses will miss out.
The whole point of the structure is to maintain a stable environment. So, opening up the greenhouse during rain would defeat the purpose.
Besides that, it’ll also create a mess.
Instead, you can hook up a water sprinkler system that’ll operate when it rains.
This uses the same principle as pop-up emitters. Still, instead of going underground, they connect to the greenhouse’s ceiling.
The build-up pressure from the rain should be strong enough to power the sprinklers. In addition, during the dry season, you can connect the system to a hose to keep using it.
8 – Rain Barrel
If you don’t plan on starting your own greenhouse, you can still collect rainwater. There are several other uses for the liquid, and it’s completely free of charge.
To do that, all you need is a barrel or a bucket and a hose. Connect your hose to the downspout and place the free end in your vessel.
After that, you can sit back, relax, and watch the barrel fill up.
Rainwater is excellent for cleaning and refilling the pool. However, if you plan on ingesting the water, you should clean it first.
There are a few chemical treatments you can try to ensure the water is drinkable. Yet, you could just boil the water for a few minutes and achieve a similar result.
9 – Rain Chain
If you want the efficiency of a rain barrel with the appeal of splashing blocks, you may want to invest in a rain chain.
Rain chains are decorative structures that can collect rainwater. That means you can protect your house without compromising on the final look.
Unlike barrels, these chains aren’t portable. They have an inlet valve to allow water in and an outlet for it to exit.
This makes cleaning the vessel a daunting task. Plus, it’s likely you won’t be able to get all the water out of the structure.
9 – Sump Pump
Downspouts aim to keep water away from a house’s foundation. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to travel great distances.
Sump pumps are water collection devices that you can store indoors. You place them in the lowest section of your house.
For some people, this may mean a basement or a crawl space. Then, you connect the device to your downspout.
As rain falls, water will collect in the sump basin. When the vessel fills up, the pump will spring into action.
It’ll push the water out through pipes and divert it away from the foundation.
The best part about a sump pump is that you can’t see it from the outside. On top of that, it doesn’t require manual operation.
Yet, maintaining the device is quite challenging. There are many parts to a sump pump, and they’re not all easy to access.
10 – Gutter Blocks
We can’t always predict weather patterns even with the weather apps on our phones. Sometimes, it can be clear skies one minute and then heavy rain the next.
When that happens, you may not have enough time to set up any of the other options on our list.
In that case, try out gutter blocks. These are stoppers that will shut off the open end of the downspout.
This will allow the area to stay dry while you work on a more permanent solution.
The main issue with gutter blocks is that they will only work for short periods. Once the water stops flowing, it’ll build up in the gutter and may cause blockages.
There are many downspout drainage options on the market to choose from. Some of the most popular varieties include metallic extensions and drain pipes.
Still, others like drain sleeves, pop-up emitters, and StealthFlow can also work.
For an environmentally conscious choice, go for rain greenhouses or barrels.
Yet, if you’re looking for decorative options, you may want to opt for splash blocks or rain chains.
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.