Properly Buried Downspouts
LESLIE: Dave in Ohio, what can we do for you?
DAVE: Hi. Yeah, I was – I had a question about burying my downspouts. I live in Ohio and I was wondering about the difference between using the corrugated black or PVC and how deep I should go and – in regards to whether I should use gravel and so on.
TOM: Dave, I really don’t like the corrugated black plastic stuff for a bunch of reasons. First of all, it tends to get clogged real easy from roots that grow in from the outside of it. Secondly, if you do anything – if you drive over it or you go over it with like heavy equipment or anything – any number of things happens – the stuff crushes very, very easily. And you can’t snake it out if it gets totally clogged. So, I think the best thing to do with your underground leaders is to run them into solid PVC pipe. There is a transition piece. It’s a PVC piece; it’s designed specifically to go from a four-inch leader into a four-inch round PVC pipe. And so, you can actually do sort of what’s like a hard plumbing connection and bring this out underground.
Now, in terms of what do you do with it now that it’s underground. Well, that depends a lot on the design of the grading around your house. If the soil slopes away and you can run that pipe down and sort of poke it out through the yard somewhere, that’s great. If you can’t, what you could do is dig what’s called a dry well. I would only do this if it was at least 20 or more feet from the house. But basically, you dig a pit that would be about two to three feet wide, about two to three feet deep. You’d run the pipe into it. The whole thing would be filled with gray gravel and then you’d put some filter cloth and then soil over the top of it and grass. So, you wouldn’t see it when it’s done but it gives the water a place to sort of fill up and then slowly work its way back into your ground system. But again, don’t do that any closer than around 20 or 25 feet from the house; otherwise, that water can pond up and shoot back into the basement area.
So, solid PVC better than perforated and get that water away from the house any way you can.