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Installing Gutters and Downspouts On Homes

Install gutters and downspouts on homes to direct rainwater down and away from the home.
Downspouts should empty water away from the foundation.

Install gutters and downspouts on homes to direct rainwater down and away from the home. Install gutters and downspouts that empty to piping depositing water
on sloping final grade ≥ 5 ft. from foundation or
to underground catchment system ≥ 10 ft. from foundation

Direct rainwater down and away from the home.

Install gutters and downspouts on homes to direct rainwater down and away from the home. This is done to reduce the chances of saturating the soil around the foundation.

  • Install adequately sized gutters and downspouts.
  • Connect the downspouts to piping that will carry the water to a sloping final grade ≥ 5 ft. from the foundation.  Or, to an underground catchment system ≥ 10 ft. from the foundation that is not connected with the foundation drain system.
  • You may also install a rainwater harvesting system that includes a drainage system to handle overflow.
  • Consider constructing a grade-level rock bed with a waterproof liner and drain pipe to collect water that drains from the roof.

ENERGY STAR does not require gutters for homes that have a slab-on-grade foundation or are in a dry climate. For homes without gutters, install protection from water splash damage in one of the following ways:

  • Extend the foundation walls at least 16 in. above final grade; OR
  • Provide a drip line that is horizontally 16 in. away from the edge of the foundation wall; OR
  • Use cladding material that can tolerate regular wetting.  Install a well-sealed, continuous drainage plane that extends at least 16 in. above the final grade. An example is a brick veneer or stone cladding with self-adhering moisture control membrane.

Remember, it is better to install gutters and downspouts on homes to direct rainwater down and away from the home and protect your foundation and investment.

Some of this article appeared in the Building America Solution Center.

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