lengthening a downspout illustration
Illustration: Joe McKendry
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9. Lengthen Stubby Downspouts

WHY NOW:
Heavy winter rain can cause pooling near your home's foundation if your downspout kick-outs are too short. That water can then infiltrate the foundation and be wicked up the side of the house, wreaking havoc along the way in the form of mold, insects, or rot, says Roger Cook. Telltale signs may be a wet spot in your basement after a rain or widening cracks in the foundation.

HOW TO DO IT:
Attach a flexible downspout extender that's connected to a length of drainage pipe buried just below grade; the pipe should direct water at least 10 feet away from your home's foundation. Rather than sending that diverted water into a dry well or losing it to the storm drain, put it to work by attaching another length of perforated pipe, wrapped in landscape fabric, that'll disperse the water to feed your flower beds. To allow for proper drainage, lay the perforated pipe on a 3- to 6-inch bed of washed stone.

THE PAYOFF:
You're spared $10,000 to $30,000 to jack up the house and replace a rotted main beam, plus $1,000 to $3,000 to repair damaged joists.
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