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Old 04-08-2010, 11:05 AM  
Guncho
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Default Where To Relocate Downspout

Our new house has two downspouts on the each side of the front of the house. They both at one time went into the ground which as I understand is the way they use to do this but is considered bad now. A few months before we bought the house, one of these lines backed up due to tree roots and flooded the basement. The basement was repaired and the foundation was waterproofed in that area but the pipe the tree roots breached was not fixed. Before agreeing to buy the house we made the seller relocate this downspout. Their brillant solution was to redirect it into the small garden directly in front of the house. So the water wouldn't reach the foundation, they dug a trench with the heel of their foot in the garden which fills up with water when it rains which is obviously not ideal. The problem we're having is we can't figure out where to redirect this downspout as there's no clear path to the lawn. In that corner of the house, the driveway is on one side and the walkway to the front door is in front of the house. We thought about redirecting it to the driveway but the driveway is pretty level so the water would just sit there. We thought about buying one of those rolly things that rolls out when it rains but don't think it would roll itself over the retaining stones in the garden to get to the lawn. What would you do?

Also any idea why the brick near the ground is a different color? Is it water damage? Is that nomal?





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Old 04-08-2010, 02:44 PM  
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Originally Posted by Guncho View Post
Our new house has two downspouts on the each side of the front of the house. They both at one time went into the ground which as I understand is the way they use to do this but is considered bad now.
Right. You want to get the rain water away from the foundation of your house so that there's no hydrostatic pressure driving that water into the foundation. Leaving that gutter to dump water into the flower bed like that isn't good. You want to get rid of the water further away from the foundation of the house.


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A few months before we bought the house, one of these lines backed up due to tree roots and flooded the basement. The basement was repaired and the foundation was waterproofed in that area but the pipe the tree roots breached was not fixed.
You might want to hire a plumbing company to run a video inspection of that drain pipe to see if the pipe is actually damaged or not. If it is, you're going to continue having problems with tree roots until the damage is repaired.

You see, given the huge amount of buried sewer pipes and trees growing near them in cities, it's actually very seldom that tree roots grow into drain pipes. That's because drain or sewer pipes are buried a minimum of 5 or 6 feet down so that they're below the frost line and don't freeze in winter. Tree roots, on the other hand, only grow in soil that is fertile, and fertile soil is produced by the AEROBIC decay of organic matter like grass cuttings and leaves. Below about 2 or 3 feet down, you no longer have aerobic decay because there's not enough oxygen in the soil to support aerobic decay. So, regardless of the size of the tree, virtually all of it's roots will be within 2 1/2 feet of the surface of the ground. You might have a tap root or root ball directly under the tree that's a lot deeper, but anything more than two or three feet away from the tree, the roots will all concentrate in the top 2 feet of soil or so.

Where you have a crack in a pipe that allows moisture and organic matter to get into the soil deeper down, the tree considers that to be fertile ground too, and will grow roots into that soil. However, you have to have a sufficiently large leak in the pipe to get the tree to notice that the ground seems fertile in one particular direction or in one area. Small leaks several feet below the roots won't do that.

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Before agreeing to buy the house we made the seller relocate this downspout. Their brillant solution was to redirect it into the small garden directly in front of the house. So the water wouldn't reach the foundation, they dug a trench with the heel of their foot in the garden which fills up with water when it rains which is obviously not ideal. The problem we're having is we can't figure out where to redirect this downspout as there's no clear path to the lawn. In that corner of the house, the driveway is on one side and the walkway to the front door is in front of the house. We thought about redirecting it to the driveway but the driveway is pretty level so the water would just sit there. We thought about buying one of those rolly things that rolls out when it rains but don't think it would roll itself over the retaining stones in the garden to get to the lawn. What would you do?
Dumping the rain water on the driveway is a bad idea. In the spring or fall when it rains during the day and then freezes at night, you're going to be parking on a skating rink.

If the problem is having the rain gutter cross the sidewalk, then if it were me, I'd probaby drive a tall cedar post into your front lawn close to the house, but on the other side of the sidewalk. Have the rain gutter go from your roof to the top of the post and then down to ground level so you can walk under the gutter.

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Also any idea why the brick near the ground is a different color? Is it water damage? Is that nomal?
It's normal if you have a flower bed right beside the brick exterior like that. What happens is that when it rains, mud from your flower bed gets splashed up on the wall and discolours the masonary. It doesn't do any harm, but it does make the wall look darker in the vicinity of the flower bed. You'll find the same thing wherever you have those conditions: a porous surface that dirt will find it's way into right beside an exposed source of dirt like a flower bed.


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Old 04-08-2010, 03:08 PM  
Guncho
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The downspout on the right side that went into the ground and caused the flooding has been sealed and is no longer in use. So the problem now is figuring out where to put the downspout that once went into the ground.

Is it possible to seal up a downspout and create one on another corner of the house?

Is there a reason you have to have a downspout on each side of the house?

Is there a reason you have to have two downspouts?

The ideal solution would be to seal the left front corner's downspout (the one in the pics) and remove it and redirect the one on the right front side of the house onto the lawn. If one is not enough I would create a new one on the back right corner but that would mean there would two on the right side of the house and none on the left.

Other than I just don't where to aim the one on the left and don't think my wife would go for an arch in our front lawn.

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Old 04-08-2010, 03:08 PM  
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Would it help to pitch the gutter the other way, so the water flows toward the back of the house and then relocate the downspout to the back?

In any case the ground near the foundation needs to slope away from the house.
"The consensus seems to be that a good slope to aim for when grading land extending out from a house foundation is 6 inches for the first 10 feet (that's a slope of 5 percent)."

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Old 04-08-2010, 04:02 PM  
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The reason for having 2 downspouts are 1) to split the volume of water equally in a heavy rain so the downspout doesn't overflow. 2) the gutter must be pitched in order to direct the rain towards the downspout. Given the overall length of the gutter and factoring in the required pitch, by the time you get from one end to the other, the gutter would be somewhat unsightly sloped and/or mounted too low to be able to be attached to the fascia boards also allowing for potential water infiltration behind the gutter itself. It may be possible to eliminate one corner downspout and repitch the remainder of the gutters so that the water rounds the corner and drains to the rear of the home where you could install a downspout to discharge the water away from the foundation and not be in the way of vehicles and/or pedestrians. Although we DIY as much as possible, I personally would call for a gutter company to do this for me as the control of the pitch is somewhat critical and their services are somewhat inexpensive.

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Old 04-08-2010, 05:32 PM  
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Thanks everyone this is very helpful.

Sounds like the next step is to call a gutter company.

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Old 04-09-2010, 01:38 PM  
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I had this exact issue. The pipe probably doesnt just "go into the ground". It goes somewhere. In my case it came out at the curb and went to the street.

If I were you I would either
1) have roto rooter or a similar company auger out the pipe to the street (if thats where it goes) or
2) Remove the old pipe and run a new pipe all the way to the street.

I did number two

No water near the house. Yeah, i needed to lift a sidewalk slab and cut into the curb as well as trench like 30 feet. It was worth it for a dry basement and looks a lot neater once the grass grows back where you trench.

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Old 04-09-2010, 01:50 PM  
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In Ontario there were various programs designed to encourage you to disconnect your downspout from going anywhere but onto your lawn. Wouldn't simply relocating a downspout be a lot cheaper than trying to repair pipes that have already caused our basement to leak or replacing them?

I should add that the downspout in question has already been disconnected and the pipe going into the ground capped.

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Old 04-13-2010, 08:26 AM  
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Update, a gutter company wanted $1500 to relocate the downspout from the front left of the house to the back right so obviously we're not going to do that.

Another idea which would seem like our only option at this time is to figure something out so that the downspout will stay in the garden but when it rains, we can swing it out over the sidewalk and onto the lawn. I would prefer to have a permanent solution but really can't think of or afford one at this time. I've seen downspouts with hinges or you can get those rolly ones.

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Old 04-13-2010, 08:56 PM  
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I'm not sure if I'm explaining this properly, but I'll give it a shot.

In the pictures you have up there it appears that the original downspout ran directly into a pipe in the ground. There is roughly one foot of pipe remaining above ground level and the down spout has been rerouted roughly 1/2 foot above that to snake around the corner of the house an into the garden.

My thought would be to have the downspout cross the path to the house close to ground level to redirect water to the lawn. A small "decorative" foot bridge would then be built overtop of the downspout to allow for people to cross over without tripping.

It would require some clever positioning to ensure there is still proper drainage without making your footbridge too obvious. The key would be to make something attractive as well as practical so that it would seem more like decorative landscaping than an attempt at an inexpensive fix to a drainage problem.



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