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How to Prevent Downspout Washout: The Ultimate Guide

Prevent Downspout Washout

Downspout washout is a common issue that homeowners face, especially during heavy rainfalls. It happens when the water flowing down the downspout erodes the soil around it, causing the downspout to shift and eventually detach from the wall. This not only damages the foundation of your home but also creates a potential safety hazard. In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to prevent downspout washout.

What is Downspout Washout?

Downspout washout is a process that happens when water flows down the downspout and erodes the soil and mulch around it. Over time, the soil becomes weak, and the downspout shifts, leading to detachment from the wall. This can cause significant damage to your home’s foundation and create a safety hazard.

Why is Downspout Washout a Problem?

Downspout washout can lead to many problems, including water damage to the foundation of your home, erosion, and even flooding. If your downspout detaches from the wall, it can also pose a safety hazard to anyone passing by.

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How to Prevent Downspout Washout

Preventing downspout washout is essential to protecting your home from water damage and maintaining its structural integrity. Here are some practical steps you can take to prevent downspout washout:

Use a Gutter Downspout Extension

One of the easiest ways to prevent downspout washout is by using a downspout extension. This extension will direct water away from your home’s foundation, preventing soil erosion and other problems. This is a very simple way to keep your gutter system functioning well.

Install Splash Blocks

Splash blocks are another way to prevent downspout washout. These concrete blocks are placed at the bottom of your downspout to redirect water away from your home and into drainage pipes.

Direct Water Away from Your Home

Another effective way to prevent downspout washout is by directing water away from your home’s foundation. You can achieve this by grading your yard, installing a French drain, or even building a rain garden. You will know if your gutters are set up correctly when you see water flowing where intended.

Use a Downspout Bracket

Using a downspout bracket is an effective way to secure your downspout to the wall and prevent it from shifting. This will also prevent any potential safety hazards such as overflow from rainwater.

Installing Larger Gutters

Not every home owner has this choice but if you are installing gutters to a new or old home then maybe upgrading to larger gutters may just be the right choice to make. The cost will be higher but it will save you experiencing damage from the heaviest of rains.

Tips for Maintaining Your Downspouts

Maintaining your downspouts is critical to prevent downspout washout and prevent water coming into places you don’t want it. Here are some tips to keep your downspouts in good condition:

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning your gutters regularly will prevent debris buildup that can cause clogging and prevent water from flowing freely through the downspout. Regular cleaning will prevent rainwater from getting heavy enough in your gutters to spill or overflow into your garden, house or foundations.

Check for Damage

Regularly check your downspout for any damage, such as cracks or holes. If you notice any damage, repair it as soon as possible. A routine gutter inspection is a good idea after heavy rain. Damage may not be visible from the ground but if you can get higher and check from above you may notice damage. 

Trim Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs or flower beds can obstruct the flow of water through your downspout. Trim them regularly to prevent any potential clogging. Always try to keep your gutters clear of obstructions and allow the water to go where it needs to go. You can always dig a trench underneath your downspout to direct the flow.

Inspect Your Downspout Bracket

Inspect your downspout bracket regularly and ensure that it is secure and not damaged. Replace it if you notice any signs of wear and tear. Water can sometimes perforate plastic edging or even a solid pipe. Even small holes can cause significant issues so it best to solve the problem as soon as possible.


Downspout washout is a common problem that homeowners face, but it can be easily prevented with the right steps. By using a downspout extension, installing splash blocks, directing water away from your home, and using a downspout bracket, you can prevent downspout washout and protect your home’s foundation from water damage. Additionally, regular maintenance of your downspouts can help to prevent any potential issues. By following the tips outlined in this ultimate guide, you can ensure that your downspouts are in good condition and avoid any potential safety hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is recommended to clean your gutters twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. During spring and fall is when leaves and dirt are more likely to fall directly onto gutters. 

Yes, you can install a downspout extension yourself. It’s a simple and easy process that requires minimal tools and time. But if you are worried about doing it correctly then we recommend speaking to an expert. 

While you can use PVC pipe instead of a downspout extension, it’s not recommended. PVC pipes are not as durable as downspout extensions, and they can easily crack or break over time.

Inspect your downspout bracket regularly for any signs of wear and tear, such as rust or bent metal. If it is damaged, replace it as soon as possible to prevent any potential safety hazards.

Yes, downspout washout can cause basement flooding. When water is not directed away from your home’s foundation, it can seep into your basement and cause significant damage.

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