As a homeowner, you have to be wary of many natural elements, including fire, insects, natural disasters and more. Few things can harm the structural foundation of a home more than rain and excess water, and pooling water near your foundation may cause soil erosion and flooding, both inside and outside the home.

That’s why so many homeowners rely on gutter systems to keep their homes safe, and no gutter system is worth its weight in aluminum without a proper downspout. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to gutters and downspouts, including what they are, how to install them and how to maintain them.

A Guide to Gutters

We all know gutters — those shallow troughs fixed along the edge of your roof that are responsible for catching and dispersing rainwater. Without them, a home is highly vulnerable to water damage and potential foundation issues. However, a gutter is still relatively useless without a downspout.

What’s a Gutter Downspout?

A gutter downspout is a drainpipe attached to the bottom of the gutter. When the rainwater fills the gutter, gravity takes over, and it exits through the downspout. The downspout is responsible for taking that water and pointing it away from your home.

Downspouts are usually made from aluminum or other materials that can withstand harsh outdoor elements. They’re also typically installed along a home’s siding and run vertically from the gutters to the ground.

How Much Does a Gutter Downspout Cost?

On average, the cost of a downspout is $3 to $5 per foot of material. Of course, this cost can range depending on the downspout gauge, where you purchase your materials, the size of the downspout and the type of material. You will also need to consider the cost of installation and additional materials needed to complete the installation.

The Materials Needed to Connect Downspouts to Gutters

Whether you’re a DIYer, a professional contractor or hiring a professional contractor, installing a gutter downspout requires a few different materials. These materials include downspout elbows, downspout outlets and downspout straps/pipe bands.

As far as tools go, you will need the following:

  • Snips or a hacksaw to cut through the metal gutter
  • Metal file to sand down rough edges from cuts
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill and screwdriver, depending on the anchors used
  • Safety equipment including gloves and safety glasses

9 Steps for Connecting a Downspout to Your Home

Connecting a downspout to your home is vital to keeping your foundation intact and your home safe. Many homeowners will opt to hire a professional contractor to complete the installation, but this can increase project costs and extend project timelines.

Fortunately, installing downspouts is much simpler than you’d think and can be tackled as a DIY project. To help you take this project on, we have gathered nine steps to help you successfully connect a downspout to your home.

  1. Measure the distance between the gutter outlet to the wall under the eave. Then, measure the distance between the gutter to the ground. These measurements will be vital when you order your supplies.
  2. Purchase and gather your tools, supplies and materials.
  3. Cut all of your pieces to the appropriate measurements, leaving room for overlapping segments. When using either metal snips or a hacksaw, make sure to wear gloves as raw metal edges can be surprisingly sharp. If any of the cuts are messy or have sharp edging, a file can be used to sand down the metal.
  4. If your gutter is far away from the wall, you may need to install a downspout elbow or ledge jumper so that the downspout can be attached to your home’s siding.
  5. Attach the elbow to the downspout sleeve.
  6. Attach the downspout to the siding of your home. Depending on your home siding materials, the anchors you use on this step will vary.
  7. Attach the downspout elbow to the bottom of the downspout, angling the direction away from your home. You may also want to install a downspout extension to be safe.
  8. Secure all the screws and ensure the downspout is firmly attached to the gutter outlet before affixing to the side of the house with pipe bands.
  9. Test the water flow to see if it works properly and feels secure.

Maintaining Your Gutters and Downspouts

After the installation process is complete, your job isn’t completely finished. Learning about the best maintenance practices ensures that your gutter and downspout can endure harsh elements for years to come.

After all, if your gutter system malfunctions, you’re in danger of causing significant damage to your foundation.

3 Tips To Maintain Rain Gutters And Downspouts

1. Clean Your Gutters Regularly

Falling leaves and other debris can get stuck in your gutter and cause clogs or blockages. Use your hands or cleaning tools to clear out any blockages. Once you’re done, you can use a water hose to test the water flow.

2. Install Gutter Guards

Gutter guards can be installed over your gutters to protect them from falling debris. Of course, they won’t keep your gutters completely clean, but they will reduce debris buildup, making cleaning them much more manageable.

3. Install Downspout Extensions

Splash blocks are often used to catch and funnel the runoff water from the downspouts, but splash blocks are also fallible. To ensure that the water is properly diverted from your home, you might consider installing a downspout extension.

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