Are there rain gutters mounted on your roofs fascia board? Chances are that there are. The purpose
is to stop rain from falling on your head as you rush from the house. Thats why one place
youll find them located is over the walk up to your front door.
But the problem is that theyre misused quite often, usually as a result of claims from an aggressive
rain gutter salesman. In any event, we know that gutters make life more comfortable. This article will
consider the benefits of gutter downspouts and how you can use them to irrigate your lawn, flower bed or garden.
Using a Rain Barrel
This rain water harvesting technique use is becoming more popular as a green use of natural, renewable resources and scores
points on the LEED certification.
The image above shows a typical installation for a residential rain barrel. The link will take you to detailed installation instructions. Alternatively, read on to learn about protecting your foundation using your gutter downspouts without a barrel.
How the Use of Gutter Downspouts can Protect the Homes Foundation
The purpose of a rain gutter is to collect rainwater meandering down the roofs shingles and
then guide it to your gutter downspout which funnels the water down to ground level. Its not
necessary to install gutters on all edges of your roof.
Why? Because you want the rainwater to flow from the roof at an even distribution pattern.
In this way the ground at all
edges of your slab or foundation receive an equal soaking. This minimizes the chance of your slab or
foundation straining and cracking from a saturated spot here, and dry, desiccated ground there.
Task number one is to choose the areas where a rain gutter would benefit you yet not jeopardizing your
slab or foundation.
Once youve got the rain water accumulated in your gutter downspout, what can do with it? Chances
are you have a flower bed or vegetable garden close by; why not send the rain water there?
In many areas, it's a good idea to install gutter guards or screens to exclude debris and minimize the chore of gutter cleaning.
Install your Irrigation System
Your local home improvement store (Home Depot or Lowes) will provide you with flexible plastic drainage
tubing. It's specially engineered to slide onto the base portion of the downspout. You can use this tubing
to channel rain water away from your homes perimeter in order to avoid super-saturating
any one area in particular.
At the far end of the drainage tubing, fashion a piece of Plexiglas so that it will barely fit snugly
into the end of your drainage
tube. Next, drill a hole in the Plexiglas the size of a soaker hose and insert it in an inch or so.
Seal it in using silicone caulk. Finally, bury your soaker hose in your vegetable garden or flower bed.
The rainwater flowing from the roof will now benefit your garden!
Whenever you install any gutter downspout, keep the following guidelines in mind. Secure it to the base
portion of your rain gutter using either aluminum pop rivets or hex head self-tapping screws. Attach
some kind of a mesh strainer at the opening to keep large objects from clogging it up. Finally, use
a high quality silicone caulk to seal all the connections. Check them every time you clean your gutters
Rather not do the job yourself?
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The Alternative of Garden Irrigation
You might decide not to take advantage of the flower bed watering configuration described above. If
so, you still have a need to divert rainwater from your slab. As mentioned above, excessive water gathering
in any single spot is bad news for the slabs
strength and general health.
Home improvement stores sell water diverters manufactured from concrete. You set one on the ground
under your downspout and this will channel rainwater away from your home. In some cases, it makes more sense to install a French drain.
As you can see, the lowly gutter downspout is beneficial to the health of the slab or foundation
and can also serve as a huge asset in keeping your garden or flower bed properly irrigated.