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Are Downspout Extensions Necessary? 

Are Downspout Extensions Necessary
Are Downspout Extensions Necessary

As Basement Waterproofers, we are constantly looking for sources of water. It had to come from somewhere, so we are trying to trace its origin to provide a better solution to our customers. Stopping water where it comes in is one thing, stopping it from the source is another.

Gutter Downspout Extensions for your gutters are one of the most common and heaviest sources of water when your basement floods. DID YOU KNOW: In 1,000 Square Feet of roof space, 600 gallons of water are produced in a single inch of rain?? That’s right, 600 gallons every time it rains an inch, and that’s only if the footprint of your home is 1,000 SF. Scale it up from there and you will find out many houses get well over 1,400 gallons of water every time it rains an inch.

So, what gives? It’s water, we’ve been dealing with it all our lives, watching it go down those downspouts. How could it be hurting my home? The answers to that question are numerous. Water actually has a quite large effect on your home’s foundation and integrity.


The most obvious issue with not using Gutter Downspout Extensions is that all this water from the roof is dumped next to the foundation. Where else has it to go but inside? The dirt excavated around your foundation during original construction is still less dense than the dirt that was unmoved. This causes a “bowl” to form around your foundation, a basin for water to gather in easily. In heavier rains, it is able to gather more water before draining down. This water buildup causes pressure, Hydrostatic Pressure, and forces its way into the home via cracks and cold joints in the concrete. Some of these areas water can come in through are:

  • Foundation Cracks
  • Form Ties
  • Pipe Penetrations
  • Cracks in the floor
  • Cove Joint (where the floor and wall meet)
  • Around drains in the floor
  • Thresholds of basement doors

It is important to address any leaks, but many of these repairs can be avoided simply by extending your gutters a minimum of 15 feet away from the home. We recommend placing Gutter Downspout Extensions 20 feet away from the home.

Structural Integrity

When it comes to the structure of your foundation, too much water is evil, evil, evil. Super saturated soil loses its supportive integrity. Think more like quicksand instead of supportive dirt. Many times, we have had to pier and lift houses in order to rectify these damages caused by gutter downspouts.

Imagine all that water, constantly washing out under your foundation. It can be hard to visualize, but holes/gaps/voids are formed as that water flows under the home, allowing the home to settle to fill those voids. We’ve even traced the issue down to ONE SINGLE downspout.

There is not always access or space to bury the downspouts, so what then? How are we going to get the water away from the building?

Re-engineering the gutters on the house so downspouts come down at different places can help to re-route the water. Another option is to have the downspouts buried directly into the storm sewer line for the city. Some townships allow this, and some don’t. Contacting the Village Building office will get this answer in quick time. Sometimes, you can even get a variance (Adjustment to code) in order to put them in.

GUTTERS GUTTERS GUTTERS! Do not ignore your gutters. They are the largest source of water to your home’s foundation, unless you have a spring under your home. Thanks for reading, and as always:

“Not Everything’s Better When Wet!”


Austin Werner

Austin Werner is the Owner of The Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing and foundation repair company. Austin believes that having a highly trained and happy team is the key to success. This is reflected through hundreds of 5 star customer reviews his company has received online.

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