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Buried Gutter Drainage - Pros and Cons?

Our house is a 1940s Bungalow with a dug out basement (probably would be classified as a cellar). When we bought the house a few months ago, one of the main concerns was to improve drainage away from the house. One of the main issues is that all the gutter downspouts end where they meet the foundation. After a couple heavy rains, I realize this is now at the top of my to-do list.

We plan on using a mixture of techniques but were hoping to use buried downspouts on two of the gutters in the front yard. I was just curious on pros and cons of using buried drainage for gutters and also just some basic tips or suggestions for using such a method.

Here are some basics on my front yard that might make a decision easier:

  1. We live in middle Tennessee and experience mild winters
  2. Our house sits about 12-15 feet above street level
  3. A 6 foot, cement retaining wall lines our front yard along the sidewalk
  4. Grass yard slopes down to retaining wall, before steep drop off

So, if you know any pros or cons to installing such a drainage system I would appreciate all input. Also, I welcome any other basics tips for gutters and drainage. Thank you!

Re: Buried Gutter Drainage - Pros and Cons?

Extending downspouts away from the foundation is obvious --- directing water away from the foundation to prevent water issues.

The idea of having the extended downspouts discharge on top of the ground is better water flow for drainage --- by allowing the grass and the soil to slowly absorb the water.

Re: Buried Gutter Drainage - Pros and Cons?

A good house drainage system depends on 4 or 5 components all working together so that the hundreds of gallons of water that land on a house roof are captured by the roof gutter system, transmitted down by the downspouts, and carried away by 6' downspout extensions away from the foundation, or buried in a more elaborate system of catch basins & buried 4" drain pipe to a drywell or discharge outlet at a point lower than the house walkways---it also helps a lot if the surrounding house walkways are of concrete or similar mostly impervious material so that nearly all runoff water will be whisked away without being able to penetrate into the cellar.

Start at the top.

Therefore, your first step should be to make sure all roof gutters and downspouts are in place and functioning effectively----play the garden hose on the roof at different points to make sure there are no leaks or clogged gutters/downspouts---repair any gutter problems as a first step in the process.

The second step should be to use the 6' downspout extensions to get any roof runoff away from the foundation---this may be enough to solve most of your water problems.

A more elegant and better-appearing method is to drill, dig or punch holes into the concrete apron or walkways and attach 4" buried drainpipes extending from the downspouts, as noted before, attached to a one foot square catch basin (with cleanout--to catch dirt & shingle particles).

The buried catch basin/drain pipe is then connected to a 4" pitched drain pipe out to a lower discharge point or into a buried drywell.

From your post description it sounds like you (luckily) have much lower points in the front of your house to insure the discharged water will flow downwards and away from the foundation.

Most local codes allow the homeowner to discharge roof runoff directly into the street, or via your driveway/walkway into the street/

A more elegant way is to dig a drywell at some convenient lower point & direct the 4" drains into a hidden, buried drywell.

There are numerous online sites that deal with these issues---Google "soggy yard", "catch basin", "drywell construction" for numerous sites.

Home Depot/Lowe's has a thin-walled class of drain pipe & fittings that should be used for this work (instead of the more expensive thick PVC used for plumbing jobs)---they also carry drain fittings, catch basins, etc.


Re: Buried Gutter Drainage - Pros and Cons?

Thank you for the input.

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