K-Guard Kansas City Blog

Downspouts 101

Roof and gutters of a house

Gutter systems, no matter which system you choose, have relatively the same basic parts: the actual gutter, downspout, elbows, end cap, etc. Each part plays an integral role in draining rain and ice melt away from your home. 

One of the most important parts to a gutter system is the downspout. Do you know exactly how they work and what role they play in your gutter system? Do you know how to properly clean and maintain them so they effectively drain water away from your home? 

If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, don’t worry! We’re here to teach you everything you need to know about downspouts. Keep reading to learn all about downspouts, how they work and how to maintain and clean them. Welcome to Downspouts 101!

What is a Downspout?

A downspout is the part of a gutter system that is attached to the bottom of the gutter and sits vertically on the sides of homes. Gutter systems have approximately one downspout placed every 30-50 feet, so there are typically several found around the exterior of a home.

Downspouts are typically made from aluminum and steel, although other materials are available but are less common. They come in a variety of sizes, the most common being 2×3 inches and 3×4 inches. In some commercial applications you’ll see up to 8 inches.

How Does a Downspout Work?

While there are several types of gutter systems, downspouts work the same for all. They collect and point storm and meltwater several inches away from the home, designed to keep water away from the home’s foundation.

With traditional gutter systems, the downspout is connected to the gutter trough then bracketed to the side of the home. The bottom of a downspout has elbows which is where the downspout changes direction and bends at an angle to keep water away from a home’s foundation.

Because downspouts are connected to the gutter itself, they can become clogged if they’re not cleaned and properly maintained. Whether your home is surrounded by trees or not, debris always finds its way into gutters and causes a nuisance for homeowners. Other small birds, insects or animals also use downspouts to nest or travel into your gutter system.

Debris like leaves, pine needles, silt and mud, and nests can form inside gutters and can cause extensive damage to your home if the debris is left alone to accumulate. If you don’t frequently clean out your gutters or downspouts, then rain and ice melt can’t properly drain away from the home which leads to problems like water damage to your roof decking and/or your home’s interior.

How Can I Maintain & Clean My Downspouts?

In order for your downspouts to properly drain stormwater and meltwater away from your home you’ll need to clean them at least three times per year. You may need to clean them more often if you have a lot of trees on your property, at least once in the spring and twice in the fall.

Maintaining and cleaning downspouts is relatively easy and starts with cleaning your gutters. To start, make sure you wear gloves to protect your hands from any sharp debris or nests you may encounter. In addition to gloves you’ll need a ladder, scoop, bucket, hose, and maybe even a plumber’s snake. Follow these steps to clean your downspouts:

    • Remove all of the debris from the gutters
    • Flush out the gutters with water to remove any build up of dirt or rocks
    • To clean a clogged downspout, place a foot or two of a plumber’s snake into the corners where the gutters meet the downspout and remove leaves and debris
    • Follow up with flushing the downspout out with a garden hose to further remove any dirt and debris

If you’re tired of cleaning your gutters and downspouts and are looking for a maintenance free solution, look no further than K-Guard’s Leaf Free Gutter System. Our leaf free gutter systems are durable and are built to last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gutter Downspouts

What do you put under the gutter downspout?

It’s recommended to use an aluminum extension or a splash block beneath a gutter downspout. This practice effectively directs water at least 4 feet away from the house, aligning with the main objective. Such measures are both cost-effective and practical.

Other examples:

  • Rain Barrel
  • Drain Sleeve
  • Underground drain pipe
  • Stealthflow

Where should gutter downspouts be placed?

Gutters are typically installed along the periphery of a house, positioned at the edge of the roof and extending past the eaves. It’s important to remember that the specific placement of your gutter downspouts is influenced by factors such as the architectural style, size, and geographical location of your home.

Should gutter downspouts touch the ground?

Certainly, it’s acceptable as long as the water is diverted a suitable distance from the house. Generally, it’s recommended that water discharged from gutters should be at least 4 feet from the house’s foundation. If this isn’t adhered to, there’s a risk of water damage potentially compromising the integrity of your home’s foundation. Dealing with water seepage in your basement is definitely an issue to avoid!

Why Choose K-Guard?

The answer is simple: K-Guard is the only gutter system that has 45 degree by 45 degree inside corners that allows water to flow from the gutters to the downspouts and eliminates “chokepoints”. Our K-Guard Gutter Systems are backed by a lifetime clog-free warranty to keep all types of debris out under any extreme weather condition. That means whether there’s a snow storm, ice storm or strong winds carrying debris, your gutters will never become clogged.

K-Guard is the only gutter company in Kansas City to use the most durable and corrosion-free aluminum for a leaf free gutter system. Our larger sized 3×4 downspouts allow for rain and snow/ice melt to be pushed even further away from your home than traditional gutter systems. K-Guard is the largest leaf free system on the market, handling 40% more water than Leaf Guard.

To make the switch from traditional gutters to K-Guard, call (913) 380-1616 or send us a message to schedule an estimate. We’ll take a look at your home or business and will provide you with a timely and FREE estimate.

We look forward to helping you eliminate the need to maintain and clean your gutter system!


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