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What are Downspout Boots?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Downspout boots are intended to aid the transition of metal downspouts to an underground piping system. Made of heavy gauge metal or plastic, downspout boots are also added protection against damage to the downspout from vehicles, lawnmowers and foot traffic. Often chosen for a particular architectural style, downspout boots can add visual appeal to an otherwise overlooked feature of many buildings. Many styles of downspout boots also include a diverter to direct rain water away from the building's foundation.

The design of gutter downspouts often place them in harm's way along the bottom of a wall. Lawn mowing crews can flatten and destroy the downspouts by repeatedly hitting them with lawn care equipment. Installing heavy-weight downspout boots to the bottom of all exposed downspouts can prevent this problem. Flattened downspouts can cause water to back up and slowly leak out directly beside the building and the foundation. Continued water leakage can lead to structural damage to the foundation.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Downspouts that are placed close to a building's corners are likely to be damaged by sharp turning vehicles. The downspouts that feed into underground concrete pipelines also are often damaged, causing the downspout to pull away from the concrete pipe. This creates an entrance not only for debris that can plug the pipeline, but also for rodents — rodents often enter a building through sewer and drain lines. One way to prevent this is by installing downspout boots to all downspouts.

Not all downspout boots are connected to underground pipelines. Occasionally, a downspout is simply positioned to empty into a gutter or a ditch. These downspouts are frequently the victim of vandalism. It is costly to replace damaged downspouts, and damaged downspouts can take away from a building's appearance. Many styles of downspout boots are manufactured in a variety of materials to compliment an existing gutter system.

The boots are easily attached to the building with small screws. This keeps the boots in position and prevents them from being easily removed by vandals. Many styles of boots are able to be used to adapt square downspout tubing to round ground pipe. Manufactured to withstand repeated contact with string trimmers and related outside maintenance equipment, downspout boots typically last as long as the buildings to which they are affixed. While the initial cost can be somewhat of a deterrent, the savings from not having to replace damaged downspouts or repairing water damage to the building's foundation will often pay for the upgrade in a matter of years.

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      Man with a drill