Downspout splash blocks are used to absorb the force of water from a downspout and to divert that water away from the foundation. During a heavy rainfall, a downspout will discharge a large amount of water at a significant velocity. If the ground where the water hits is not protected, erosion and washout will result.
Your gutter system keeps your foundation protected from water damage. Rainwater can have an negative impact if allowed to pour off the roof and onto the ground. The gutter system channels the water from the roof to the ground, however the rainwater flowing from the downspouts will have an eroding affect on the soil.
The blocks are shaped like a rectangle widening out at one end and with a lip on three sides. This allows the water to flow from the back of the block to the front and away from the building. They are generally manufactured from concrete but are also manufactured from plastic and some are now molded entirely from recycled tire rubber.
Maintenance is minimal. They only need to be re-leveled once in awhile. Over time, they tend to sink into the ground. Just dig them out, repack the dirt, and lay them back down. Also, the water runoff path from the blocks should be kept clear of obstructions like leaves or twigs to keep the water flowing away from your foundation.
There are some very elaborate systems available for the diffusion and deflection of rain water away from the structure. They are designed to break up and slow down the flow of water from the downspout and redirect it into a different direction instead of one steady stream.
To prevent water damage to your foundation, install large splash blocks that can handle heavy water flow. You can also get fancy by using decorative splash blocks. If your water drainage problem is severe, install underground drain lines to the downspouts and carry the water away from the house.
1. Determine the type you want to use. Some direct the flow in a straight line. Others have a broader base and disperse the rain over a wider area.
2. You should have one for each downspout.
3. Install directly under the downspout.
4. Adjust the angle to ensure it slopes down and away from the foundation.
5. Avoid running over it with the mower, this can drive it into the ground and change the angle.
6. Since they take a beating over time, periodically check to make sure they are not broken or deteriorating. Also check and repack the dirt if necessary. The weight of the block may cause it to settle over time.
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