My Ridiculous Downspout

by Josh on November 25, 2008 · 5 comments

in Projects


Last winter I experimented with re-routing the downspout by the front entrance to avoid problems with ice and water against the corner of the foundation.  My solution was to direct the water to the ground beneath the hedges directly in front of the steps.  This reduced the ice near the foundation, but also created a dangerous ice problem on the steps down to the sidewalk.

This year, my downspout experiment is aimed at fixing the problem of ice on the stairs, but it looks absolutely ridiculous.  Now the water will be directed to the ground alongside the front walk steps– over 12 feet from the corner of the building.

This much horizontal run has its own complications, particularly the potential for ice build-up inside the pipe.  There is no perfect solution with downspout alone.

The real problem in this spot is the soil grading and the amount of concrete.  The sidewalk completely covers the ground from the foundation of my house to the fence with my neighbor.  And the limited amount of open ground nearby all slopes to the concrete sidewalks.  The best fix that I can think of is removing some (or all) of that sidewalk and adjusting the soil grading.  Adding a buried drain line would be a good idea, too

A neighbor up the street took on a similar project this past summer.  I will have to talk with him about the costs and time involved with attempting that project myself.  Unless my ridiculous downspout proves to be a success, I’m going to need to attempt a more involved solution for drainage.  I don’t want to keep experimenting with downspout for many more winters.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Todd November 25, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I have two ideas.

1. Install a drainage pipe under the concrete out away from the house, then turn 90 degrees down slope following the walk way. Hook the down spout to it.

2. Same option but don’t put it under the concrete. Install the underground pipe parallel to the walk way. Then use flex pipe to connect the down spout to the underground pipe.

If the PVC drain pipe is pitched it should not plug due to icing.


Josh November 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

Thanks, Todd. Your ideas sound like what I have in mind. There isn’t room on the property to bury a drain pipe alongside the walkway (#2), so I’m making plans for concrete removal. I have other ideas for the front entrance, too, which I’ll detail in a future post.


Fred November 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Josh – Do you have to destroy the concrete to run the pipe under? Seems like you don’t need a great width, you might be able to dig under from both sides, connect the pipe, then fill everything in.


Josh November 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Good thought, Fred. Depending on how I choose to configure the drain pipe, preserving most of the sidewalk is a definite possibility. However, my lot suffers from an abundance of impermeable surface area (large house on a small lot) and I’m inclined to take the opportunity to try to reduce the runoff. Replacing the concrete sidewalk with pavers, gravel or grass would keep more water on site.


dennis stenzoski January 19, 2010 at 11:57 am

easy fix. install a pvc arbor type entrance up against the house stradleling the walk.
reroute the downspout to cross over the walk on top of the arbor, using white downspout materials, the down and elbow out on the grass, towards the street. you can go undergroud towards the street as well.
have fun.


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