A splash block is designed to direct water away from the foundation of your home, especially in situations where the downspouts drain too close to the foundation or on to the property next door. Splash blocks are used as part of the gutter system for a number of reasons including better drainage, aesthetics, and protection against water damage.
What is a Splash Block?
Splash blocks are available in wide variety of colours, materials, and sizes. They are typically rectangular in shape with raised sides. They are open at one end and closed at the other and are sloped downward to eliminate standing water. They can be manufactured from heavy vinyl, aluminum, concrete, or ceramic. A splash block is usually added to a gutter system where the downspout deposits water too close to the house’s foundation.
Splash Blocks vs. Downspout Extenders
Both splash blocks and downspout extenders divert water away from the foundation or the exterior walls of your home. While it can vary in length depending on the manufacturer, a splash block resembles a shallow tray that is placed beneath the downpipe. A downspout extender, on the other hand, attaches directly to the downspout and looks like a horizontal downspout. Splash blocks generally can be more easily integrated into the landscaping than downspout extensions.
For Better Drainage
For optimal drainage, the ground should slope away from your house four to six inches for every 10 feet. If the ground slopes toward the foundation water can pool next to exterior walls and seep into the basement, causing flooding, soaked insulation, or mold growth on interior and exterior walls. If downspouts deposit water less than three feet, it can also result in pooling water or soil erosion. In either scenario – ground slopes toward or downspout is too short – a splash block will guide rainwater to a place where it can be safely absorbed into the landscaping.
For Protection against Water Damage
To provide effective protection against water damage splash blocks should be embedded into the soil at least 1.27 centimetres (a half inch). Water damage takes different forms including:
- Soil erosion
- Mold and mildew
- Basement flooding
- Cracked foundation
- Stained ceiling and interior walls
When soil is washed away from around a home the foundation can become susceptible to shifting, pitting, and cracking. It doesn’t do much for your landscaping either. Well-placed splash blocks control how the rainwater is dispersed and at what rate. A narrow splash block can be more easily concealed. However, in areas that receive heavier rainfalls, select a wider splash block that will disperse more water.
For Protecting Siding
When water from a gutter system doesn’t drain properly, it will pool beneath the downspout. Without a splash block, the next time it rains, water exiting the downspouts will hit the existing pool of water and splash mud upwards, landing on the siding. Even without any miniature pond, water can still exit the downpipes hard enough to throw wet mud on to the siding. Not only do stains detract from your curb appeal, moisture can get in behind siding sections or stay in sheltered areas of the surface of the siding, inviting mold or causing extensive damage to insulation or the siding itself.
Splash blocks can be an attractive addition to your home’s exterior. While it can be chosen to blend into the background, a decorative splash block creates a focal point, drawing attention to a specific feature of the landscaping. Since splash blocks come in a variety of styles, you can really make a statement and boost curb appeal at the same time.