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6 Reasons To Install Downspout Extensions

June 13th, 2024 | 3 min. read

By Sarah Etler

Protect your foundation and the concrete on your property with downspout extenders and proper drainage.

Water damage is one of the most significant threats to your property and concrete. Leaky basements, trip hazards from settled sidewalk slabs, moldy siding panels… the list of problems that water can cause is endless.

To prevent problems like these, proper rainwater management and drainage are crucial, and installing downspout extensions (also known as “downspout extenders”) is one way to go about this.

In this article, we’ll explore 6 reasons why extending downspouts away from your foundation and concrete slabs is so important.

Struggling with settled concrete due to poorly directed downspouts? Click here to learn how to fix sinking concrete slabs.

1. Protect Your Foundation Walls from Damage and Cracks

By extending your downspouts and diverting water away from your home, there is less water pooling around the foundation and concrete slabs, which can lead to cracks, premature deterioration, and other damage.

This is because accumulated water around your foundation increases hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls. This pressure can cause cracking, bowing, or even wall collapse in severe cases.

Effectively directing water away from your foundation reduces the risk of hydrostatic pressure damage.

Related Resource: How Water Affects Your Concrete

2. Prevent Foundation and Concrete Settlement

When water rushes down your downspout and rushes towards a concrete slab or outlets near your foundation, the soil around the area will erode away over time.

In the case of concrete slabs, this can be quite obvious when you look at examples like the ones below.

Downspout pointed directly at concrete driveway slab causing it to settle Broken downspout extension causing soil washout under concrete porch

When it comes to your foundation, it can be harder to see from the surface. As the soil washes away, it can leave your foundation unsupported, leading to settlement and potential structural damage.

Proper drainage far away from your foundation or concrete slabs is essential to prevent soil erosion and help protect against settlement.

3. Reduce the Chance of Basement Flooding

Because downspout extenders redirect water away from your foundation, they help reduce the risk of your basement flooding.

Because the water is let out far from the basement walls, it helps keep your basement and crawl spaces dry, preventing water damage and maintaining a healthier home environment.

4. Help Control Expansive Soils

Some soils, particularly those with high clay content, expand and contract as they absorb and lose water.

Poor drainage and excess standing water make this issue even worse, causing the soil around your foundation and under your concrete to expand when saturated and contract as it dries.

This cycle of expansion and contraction can put stress on your foundation, leading to cracks and other damage. It can also cause your concrete slabs to heave and eventually sink.

5. Combat Wood Rot and Mold Growth

Excess moisture from poor drainage around your foundation can lead to wood rot and mold growth.

This can occur in your basement, on the surface of the concrete slabs themselves, or on the siding attached to your home.

By extending downspouts and directing water away from your home, you can help prevent the excess moisture around your foundation and concrete that causes mold and rot.

6. Improve Curb Appeal

When done well, downspout extensions can look great and enhance the aesthetic value of your home by creating a cleaner, more maintained look.

Also, the minimized risk of settled concrete can also help keep your property looking great.

This improvement can boost your home’s curb appeal, making it more attractive to potential buyers or renters.

Downspout Extension FAQ

How far should a downspout drain from a house?

Downspouts should drain at least 10 feet from the foundation and any nearby concrete slabs. 

Using downspout extenders to get at least this far away from the foundation or concrete will help prevent settling and water damage.

How should you determine downspout location?

Generally speaking, you should have a downspout at every corner of the house, and at intervals of around 20 to 30 linear feet of gutter.

Be sure that each downspout drains at least 10 feet from the foundation or nearby concrete slabs.

Should You Install Downspout Extensions?

All in all, installing downspout extenders is a relatively inexpensive way to get a lot of potential benefits.

Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling, we’ve been lifting sunken concrete for 30+ years and have seen countless instances of downspouts pointed directly at concrete slabs, causing them to settle.

We actually require the source of the erosion to be eliminated for our concrete leveling warranty to be effective, and this often includes extending downspouts away from the concrete or foundation.

Does settled concrete due to water erosion sound familiar? Learn more about your options for fixing sinking concrete slabs with this resource.

Sarah Etler

Sarah Etler joined A-1 Concrete Leveling after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Kentucky University. As A-1's Content Marketing Manager, she works closely with industry experts to produce content that will best answer questions related to concrete repair and maintenance practices. Sarah loves living a life full of discovery and is excited every day to see what new things she can learn and share with those around her.