Your rain gutter system requires a vast range of different parts to work efficiently, including what is known as a splash block. The splash block is a device manufactured from concrete or plastic that works to channel water away from your home's foundation. The splash block is typically rectangular and has a close-ended side positioned underneath your downspout. It also has an open-ended side that works to direct water safely away from your home or business.
Although not often considered, installing splash blocks on your property is one of the more important steps you can take to protect the integrity of your home. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about splash blocks.
What Type of Gutter Splash Blocks Are Available?
Splash blocks are available in many different forms. You can choose splash blocks in metal, plastic, industrial-style splash blocks, or even decorative splash blocks. You can also install a broad-based splash block to channel water widely away from your home or a narrower splash block that channels water in a straight line away from your home.
When it comes to choosing the best type of splash block for your home, the experts here offer decades of experience. We can guide you through the selection and installation process
Do I Need Splash Blocks on My Home?
Rain doesn’t always fall heavily every time it comes down. In fact, sometimes it can only be a sprinkle. However, when rain collects in your gutters and goes through the downspout, due to the fact that the water is pooled in the gutter, it will come out much harder than the usual light rain.
While everyone with gutters have downspouts, not all downspouts will need splash blocks. Downspouts that go into underground drains or dry wells (like a french drain) do not require splash blocks. However, any downspouts that drain above ground, especially near a building’s foundation, need splash blocks as an added level of protection.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Have Splash Blocks at Every Downspout?
If you don’t have splash blocks at the base of every downspout that drains above ground, the water will simply pool at the foundation of your home or building. Even if you have a slight downgrade into your landscape or hardscape, some precipitation can still gather at the foundation instead of distributing throughout your yard. Eventually, this can possibly cause very expensive problems.
Specifically, the pooling or constant rush of water too close to the foundation can cause widespread leaks in multiple sections of your basement. If you fail to address the problem quickly, your home could suffer from mold and fungus infestation as well as sheetrock damage and even erosion.
Should I Choose Splash Blocks vs Gutter Downspout Extensions?
A gutter extension or downspout extension is an attachment affixed at the end of your downspout to help channel water away from your home. While splash blocks often solve many common drainage problems, splash blocks alone may not be enough if:
Your basement regularly floods or is damp;
The area you live in gets large amounts of rain regularly; or
The contractor failed to properly grade the land around your home.
In many instances, splash blocks and downspout extensions are used together to create a proactive, robust, and safe drainage system.
What Are the Different Types of Downspout Extension?
There are three different types of gutter extensions you can use with splash blocks:
Flexible downspout extensions are bendable corrugated pipes that direct water where it should go. You can purchase additional adaptors to create extra-long drainage pipes, and you can use perforated drainage pipes to distribute rainwater equally over a certain area. However, these types of downspout extensions are the most susceptible to clogging due to the corrugated bends but are easy to remove and clean out with a hose.
Roll-out downspout extensions are designed to automatically extend when rain falls through the system and roll back up once the water stops coming through the downspout. However, one of the biggest downsides to this type of downspout extension is if the rainfall isn’t heavy enough, it may not extend. These types of downspout extensions are usually cheap flimsy material and don’t hold up well to the sun over time or any weedeaters.
Flip-up downspout extensions feature a hinge so they can be conveniently flipped up and out of the way whenever they aren’t necessary. These are great however, they typically require professional installation and constant manual adjustment to flip them up and down whenever it rains.
Standard downspout extensions are made from the same aluminum material as the gutter and downspout itself. These are the best in terms of reduced clogging and are as aesthetically pleasing as the gutter systems themselves. However, if not careful, these are susceptible to being crushed if stepped on.
Should I Install Splash Blocks and Downspout Extensions Myself?
Your downspout drains water away from your foundation, so many homeowners rely on downspout extensions and splash blocks to safely waterproof and prevent the basement from getting wet. However, the placement of these critical preventative maintenance items is paramount.
Far too often, extension and splash blocks placed by the homeowner are subject to errors in budgeting and judgment. If you’re unsure of what’s causing your basement to leak, it could be a faulty splash block or downspout extension.
If you're still having erosion after the splash blocks have been put in, there could be damage and you may need a gutter replacement for your home.