Downspouts serve to protect your house and landscape from water-related damage. These structures are designed to route rainwater from the gutter into drains away from your home’s perimeter and foundation.
One of the most common downspout issues is coming loose. If your downspout keeps falling off, it puts your property at risk of basement flooding, uneven flooring, cracks in the foundation, and more.
Today’s guide discusses the signs and causes of when a downspout keeps falling off, how you can fix the problem, and how you can prevent it from happening again in the future.
Before we get into the factors that may be causing your downspout to fall off, let’s take a look at the signs indicating that your downspout is getting loose.
Noticing the signs early on can help you fix the problem before the downspout actually falls off and leads to more serious water damage issues.
One of the most obvious signs that your downspout is on its way to falling off is if you can see your downspout or gutter lines coming loose.
If you notice a dip, sag, or bow down in any spot along your gutter and downpipe, you should make securing them on top of your priorities list.
You see, downspouts and gutters are supposed to be straight with a slight downward slant for the gutters during installation. So if the pipes themselves start to sag and get loose, it may worsen and create a gap that causes the downspout to fall off eventually.
Another sign that shows before your downspout comes loose and falls off is rusting screws. The purpose of screws in a gutter system is to fasten the pipes to the fascia board and the side of the house.
You can detect the presence of rusting hardware such as screws, nails, and spikes along your gutter/downspout line by looking for a brown streak sourced from points of connection.
Such lines are a result of water dripping down the rusting screws and running down the wall of the house.
A rusting screw or nail is unreliable. At any time, it can break or become undone and cause the downspout to fall off.
Similar to a rusting screw, a loose screw can be a warning that your downspout will fall off soon.
If one of your gutter/downspout nails or spikes is getting loose, you can easily spot it with a visual inspection while standing on the ground.
If you do find a loose screw or nail, you can simply fix it by screwing or hammering it back into its place.
That said, if this keeps happening, it could be a sign that this particular hole has become too worn out and can’t grip the screw. In this case, you should mount the screw or nail at another point.
Last but not least, if you find water dripping from behind the downspout or gutter pipes, you better believe that a fallen downspout is going to follow soon unless you fix the problem.
Water escaping from behind the downspout or gutter means there’s something wrong -probably a clog- that resulted in a leak.
This can also manifest in the form of water running down the sidewall of the house where the system is fastened.
Now that you have a better idea of the signs that your downspout is coming loose, it’s time you get familiar with the factors that can cause a downspout to fall off.
Clogs are one of the main culprits behind falling downspouts. If your gutter or downspout is clogged, the water traveling through them accumulates and weighs down the pipe.
A weighed-down downspout causes the structure to endure too much stress beyond its capacity, which eventually results in dragging the pipe down and pulling its screws out of place.
Clogging of gutters and downspouts can happen due to the collection of leaves, roofing granules, animal droppings, and other debris.
If there are screws, nails, or spikes missing or loose along your downpipe, chances are it’ll keep falling off.
This can happen over time due to wear and tear. It’s not necessarily the result of improper installation.
If you recently experienced strong winds or you live somewhere with generally windy conditions, there’s a chance that the wind is responsible for tearing your downspouts off your house.
You may not consider this particular cause right away, but a leveled gutter can cause your downspout to fall off.
Gutters are meant to have a slight slant downwards to direct the movement of collected water into the downspout. If your gutter is completely level, then the flow of the water won’t occur.
When water is stagnant in the gutter, it’ll weigh down the pipes and pull out the screws, eventually triggering the fall of your downspout.
The following is a breakdown of how you can fix a spout that’s falling off:
- The first step is to inspect the downspout and determine the points where it should be attached to the wall and gutter.
- Use a drill and sheet metal screws or nails to fasten the top section of the downspout to the gutter and the wall. One or two screws or nails on either side should be enough.
- Repeat the previous step with the middle and bottom sections of the downspout to ensure it stays secure in place.
- If your downspout is especially long, use straps to firmly attach it to the wall.
The steps above assume that your downspout isn’t broken or rotten. However, if this is the case, you must replace the damaged sections of the downspout.
It’s better to prevent the problem than to deal with the hassle of fixing it. So here’s how you can keep a downspout from falling off:
- You should carefully inspect your downspouts every 2 or 3 months for loose screws, rusting screws, gaps between the pipes and the wall, and clogs.
- Secure your downspout in place by following the steps below:
- Put marks along the right and left sides of your downspout line down the house.
- Mark points of attachment of straps at the top, bottom, and every 8 or 10 feet along the length of the downspout.
- Drill 2 holes for each strap.
- Use self-tapping screws to mount the downspout straps to your home.
- Install the downspout and use duct tape to keep it in place temporarily.
- Fold the straps across the downspout to make the edges of the strap overlap.
- Push a zip screw into your downspout and through the overlapping strap.
Now, you’ve secured your downspout and can have peace of mind knowing that the chances of it falling off are pretty slim.
Maintaining a functioning downspout is critical to avoid water collecting around your house. If your downspout keeps falling off, it’s probably due to clogs, loose or missing screws, windy conditions, or a leveled gutter that prevents water from flowing down properly.