When downspouts work properly, like the gutters, homeowners tend to forget about them. They are an important part of the gutter system, ensuring that excess water from the roof is safely deposited away from the foundation of your home. Malfunctioning downpipes can result in serious water damage with costly consequences. Common signs your downspouts need to be replaced include clogged downpipes, saturated landscaping, and stained siding.
Downspouts are typically made from PVC or metal such as aluminum, copper or galvanized steel. Downspouts made of metal sections are joined together by fasteners. Signs of visible damage include:
- Rust holes (metal)
- Fading (PVC)
- Splitting (PVC)
- Gaps (metal, PVC)
- Dents (metal)
- Worn seams (metal, PVC)
Whatever material the downspout is made of, including the hardware that keeps it together and firmly in place against the siding will age over time. If you seem to be constantly repairing damage to one particular area of the downspout or there are too many cracks or the patches of rusting, the damage has gone beyond making a simple repair. Downspout replacement is the best solution.
Constantly Clogged Downspouts
Downspouts that become constantly clogged with leaves and debris are often a sign that a downspout replacement is needed. The three main reasons for frequent blockages are aging downpipes; insufficient number of downspouts; and they are too small.
Aging downspouts: As downpipes become older, organic material can become snagged on edges inside the pipe that have become more pronounced with shifting or when seams begin to separate.
Not enough downspouts: Conditions might have changed in the years since the gutter system was installed. The number of downspouts you currently have are no longer enough to handle the amount of water and debris flowing through the system. Consider local weather and wind conditions – they are not the same they were a decade ago.
Downpipes are too small: When the number of downspouts is not the issue but you still have to deal with them being frequently clogged, it might be time to upgrade them to a larger size.
Water that collects beneath the downspouts could be a sign of blockages that constantly occur. If the downspouts are cleaned regularly but landscaping is waterlogged or there’s evidence of soil erosion around the foundation near the downspout, replace downspouts or upgrade to a larger size to handle the volume of water collected by the gutter system.
Peeling Paint and/or Stained Siding
Peeling paint on exterior walls immediately surrounding the downspout is often a sign that water is escaping from the downspout either at the seams or overflowing due to clogging at the gutter outlet (the top of the downspout where it connects to the gutters). Moisture can buildup on siding, resulting in peeling paint or siding that becomes stained and unsightly – peeling and staining compromises the protective coating on both siding and downspouts. While detracting from curb appeal is definitely a factor, excess moisture from downpipes can attract and encourage mold, mildew, or moss.
Downspouts that Leak
Downspouts can leak at the joints or seams where sections or elbows are connected together. If you keep discovering (and repairing) leaks it will probably be more cost-effective to replace the downspout than to repair it.