Where Should Gutter Downspouts Be Placed? (Explained)

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Guttering is an essential part of any roofing system, but it’s often overlooked. What you might not know is that proper placement of the downspouts on your roof can make a huge difference in how rainwater is discharged outside.

Here a recommendation for where to place gutters and downspouts.

Place your gutter downspouts in an unobstructed area where the water can flow without encountering any obstacle. Typically, you need one downspout for every 40 meters of the gutter and they should be evenly distributed. The end of the downspout should carry the water at least 4 feet away from the house.

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Do You Need to Install Gutter Downspouts?

The rain gutter system is one of the last installments the builders will make when constructing a house. But it is one of the more important parts of a house that greatly improves a house’s lifespan.

Gutters are the horizontal pipes that border the edge of the roof. And the downspouts are the vertical pipes that have one end opening on the gutter and the other end near the ground.

The gutters collect the residual water from the roof during rain or hailstorm. This water then goes into the opening of the downspout. Finally, the downspout carries the water away from the residence. From there, the water drains directly into sewage or underground pipeline or drips onto the ground.

This has numerous benefits for the house. The chief of which is that it prevents molds and moisture from destroying the foundation of the house. It also stops the walls of the house from decaying over time.

Fungus such as molds need moisture to grow. And if the foundation or walls are constantly getting drenched in rainwater, they become more vulnerable to this infestation. Eventually, the structure becomes more and more unstable. Thus, increasing the risk of a collapse.

Additionally, the gutter system protects the metallic parts of the house such as pipes and steel beams. The more moisture there is, the faster metal starts to rust and decay. So, keeping them dry is essential in making them last longer.

Also, a wet lawn or landscape is a potential slipping hazard. If the rain comes down on the surrounding area unimpeded, it is going to create puddles. The gutters and downspouts ensure that the immediate vicinity of the house remains dry and clean.

How Many Gutter Downspouts Should You Install?

This is a question any homeowner needs to consider. And although several variables play a role in determining the number, there is still a general rule. You should try to fit one downspout per 35 to 40 feet of gutter length.

Not having enough downspouts can be detrimental. If there is too much water and not enough downspouts, the gutters will start to overflow. The excessive water pressure can also damage the downspouts on the way down.

So, you will still end up with wet walls and puddles on the ground, despite having paid for a gutter system.

Of course, you need to ponder other factors such as – how much rain does your area experience, how good is the drainage, is there enough space for the water to flow unobstructed.

All these things will come into play and help you decide just how many downspouts should be sufficient for your home.

If it rains a lot in your region, you can expect to need more downspouts than usual. You may even need to put two pipes side-by-side to avoid overflow.

It is best to consult with an expert before deciding how many downspouts you are going to install and how you are going to arrange them.

Can Downspouts Be in the Middle of Gutter?

Ideally, your downspout is located in a place where there are no obstacles to get in the way of the water flow. If that happens to be the middle of your gutters, then you can place it right there.

The gutters have a slight slant so that the water it collects naturally travels to the opening of the downspout. There is no special benefit if that opening is right down the middle or to the side.

What matters more is the opening close to ground level. This is the opening from where the water collected from the gutter is going to come out. And you want this water to go in the opposite direction of your residence.

Where Should Gutter Downspouts Be Placed?

You attach the downspouts directly to the gutters so that the water easily drains into them. It can be on the side of the gutter system or in the center of it. The most important part is that the downspout has a clear pathway.

When you install a downspout, make sure it is a safe distance away from electric meters, the sidewalk, furniture, etc. Otherwise, these things may get damaged or wet due to the water. You absolutely need to keep it away from any electrical machinery or else you risk the potential of a short circuit.

Usually, you will see downspouts on the sides or at the back of someone’s house. This way the downspout remains out of plain view and no puddles form in front of the house.

Another contributing factor is the location of nearby sewage or pipes. Many people will bury their downspout underground or attach it to a nearby sewage system. So, the downspout has to be in a location where it can easily reach the sewage.

Normally, if you have multiple downspouts, you will not put them too close to each other. You will place them evenly so that not one pipe can become overwhelmed. But this can be an issue if there is not adequate space around your house. So, sometimes you may need to pair a couple of the pipes together.

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How Far Should Your Downspouts Be Extended from the House?

The other vital step to consider when installing a downspout is how far will it carry the water. Most downspouts will feature an extension at the end. This extension carries the water a safe distance away from the house.

Ideally, you would want the water to land 6 to 10 feet away from your house. This is the configuration you will use in many residential areas. However, it is not always possible to afford this distance. In that case, the extension should be at least 4 feet away from your house.

There are different variations when it comes to downspouts extensions. The aluminum extension is one that you will see quite often.

Some may think that they can get away by not extending the pipes that long near the bottom. And since the water is coming down the back of your house, you will not see any visible puddles or molded walls.

But there is a reason why you should not keep the opening of the downspout so close. The water can slowly start to seep into the foundation of the home and slowly chip away.

Of course, this will not happen after simply one or two showers. But areas that constantly face heavy downpours or have extreme weather in the monsoon are at more risk.

If it rains for a couple of days non-stop, the moisture will not get a chance to dry out. And that is when the precipitation can spread to the foundation.

Now, as we mentioned before, some downspouts will go directly into the ground. In this setup, the downspouts will connect with the underground pipelines and the water will be recycled for further use.

Other times, there is no safe place for the water to seep into the ground after coming out of the extension. So, you need to connect it straight to a sewage system as the storm drains on the side of the road.


Rain gutters and downspouts are an integral part of any home yet they can be easy to overlook. So, make sure you have the perfect draining system that suits your particular home and keeps it dry and sturdy.