How to Deal With a Downspout Corner (Revealed)


A downspout is an essential part of a housing system. It helps to control the flow of water so that it does not reach the foundation of your home. I know from personal experience what water can do to a foundation and walls of a house. This is why it is important to know how to deal with a downspout corner.

Directing a downspout around a corner is a fairly easy process with the right materials. The corner turn itself requires 3- 90 degree elbows in a basic installation (2 B-eblows and 1 A-elbow). If more distance is needed, downspout extension sections can be placed in between the elbows.

You not only need to know how to turn a corner with a downspout. You also need to understand how to maintain your gutter so that your house doesn’t sustain damages. This article covers all you need to know about dealing with gutters and downspouts.

Can Gutters And Downspouts Go Around Corners?

First we need to establish if it is possible to take both gutters and downspouts around corners where it seems necessary. Though it is not the most common solution to diverting water from a roof and away from foundations, given the importance of moving water, in certain circumstances it could be needed.

Gutters and downspouts can go around corners using elbows and angled runs when the situation calls for a better placement of downspout decent. In order to divert water to proper locations it can be necessary to converge multiple runs into one exit point, thus necessitating turning corners.

There are specifically designed items that can help in the process. To be honest, downspout installation is much easier than the gutters themselves. Gutters require knowledge of the type of roofing, drip-edge, decline angle, etc.

Gutters on the other hand have the full force of gravity on their side and normally are affixed to corners of buildings. This makes placement a normally easy task. That is until a unique situation arises where it is necessary to turn a corner before descending to the ground.

Let’s look at what this entails. Though it is still easier than the gutter installation itself, it will take some planning. Most anyone can do it with the proper supplies and tools.

How to Turn a Corner With a Downspout

The best way to deal with a downspout corner is to install gutter elbows around it. By installing 3 gutter elbows to circumvent a corner, you will be able to redirect water from the areas around your house where excess water could be harmful.

Installing gutter elbows to round a corner is relatively easy, and even beginners can handle the process. You should be able to get the job done between 3 to 6 hours, and you only have to spend about $50 to $150

Tools And Materials To Install Downspouts Around Corners

(Amazon links for all needed supplies – I have done your shopping for you. These are some of the highest rated and most useful for the job at hand.)

To read more about your home and how to make it beautiful and protected from the elements…

Steps to Installing Gutter Elbows

Step 1 

Preparation is key, which is why you need a visual representation of your gutter and downspout path. You can do this on any piece of paper large enough to contain the diagram.

Though this may seem like an unnecessary step if you already have the idea of how this will work, making a diagram can bring out difficulties in your plan and help keep you on track when buying materials and installing.

Ensure you include all the turns you need to make on the downspout to redirect water. Also, be sure to include the exact measurement of the downspout and elbows. In most cases a turn around a corner can be done simply with 2 90 degree elbows. Though, in some instances this may take some further downspout gymnastics to accomplish.

Your plan should also include how far away the redirected water would be, and it should be at least 20 feet away from your house.

Step 2 

Now you can start the practical aspect of the job, keeping your plan in mind. 

Using your measuring tape and stepladder, measure the top of the roof gutter all the way to the bottom where the water exits the gutter.

With this measurement, you should be able to determine how many straight downspout sections and gutter elbows you need. You should know that gutter elbows come in angles between 30 to 90 degrees. However, the standard is 75 degrees. Determining the angle you need is also essential in achieving the flow path you require.

Since the 90 degree elbows are going to be the most useful for this installation, be sure that you are not buying 75 degree elbows. These will end up leaving quite a bit of space between the downspout and the building. Other than bad aesthetics, this will lead to leaking and failure of the downspout over time.

75 degree elbows are best suited for the end of the downspout as it leads away from the building.

Step 3 

At this point, you should have your plan and measurements down. This is when you head to a home supply store and purchase your materials. 

You can purchase your supplies at a local big box or hardware store, or you can use the list provided above to get all that you will need

Note that you need to purchase mounting support brackets as well. You will need the brackets for about every 28 inches of the downspout and each end of the gutter elbow.

Step 4

After visiting the store or receiving your order from Amazon, you can start the installation. First, you should direct water into the downspout, and you can do this by attaching a drop outline that extends from the gutter end to the downspout.

Before handling any of the gutter pieces make sure to wear work gloves. The aluminum the parts are made of can be fairly sharp on the cut edges and can deliver some nasty lacerations if care is not taken.

Next, use a steel galvanized steel screw (to avoid rust) and a power drill to tightly secure the downspout onto the drop outlet using a mounting support bracket. To prevent slippage, make sure the bracket is secured tightly at the end of installation. It is a good idea to keep everything loosely fit until then.

  1. Now, attach the first ‘B’ gutter elbow to the bottom of the downspout. Ensure to face the end toward the corner you are wishing to turn. Using two support brackets, tighten the elbow to the downspout loosely now. You will tighten everything up later, once all is in place. 
  2. Attach the second ‘A’ gutter elbow to the first so that the run now rounds the corner. In your particular situation, there may need to be a run of downspout extension between the two elbows.
  3. Next, attach the third ‘B’ gutter elbow to the ‘A’ gutter elbow in order to direct the downspout flow directly downward. Again, in your particular situation, there may be need for some length of downspout extension between the second and third elbow.
  4. Bracket the third elbow securely to the wall and insert the vertical downspout run leading to the ground.
  5. Secure the vertical run with a bracket near the bottom and insert a 75 degree A elbow or attach your underground corrugated drainage system. This tubing should run under and across your lawn and should face away from the foundation of your home.
  6. Important step. Now it is time to go back and tighten all bracket screws and install screws at the connections between all elbows and extensions. One to two screws at each of these junctions should do the trick.

How to Maintain Your Gutters

Having a downspout is not the only way to protect your home from water damage. You also need to maintain your gutter, so it doesn’t get congested and cause damage.

A clogged gutter can lead to water falling to the foundation of your home and eroding the soil underneath. This soil erosion can lead to structural failure in your home. 

Therefore, ensure to maintain your gutters at least twice a year. You should attend to your gutter once in the fall and again in the spring depending on the amount of trees in the vicinity.

Here are a few tips to maintaining your gutter to keep your home safe from damage.

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is relatively easy, and just about anyone can do it. All you need is a ladder, gloves, a hose. You can choose to get a plastic scoop and tarp, but they aren’t necessary.

Here’s how your clean your gutter.

  • First, wear your gloves, then climb your ladder. Ensure the ladder is stable, so you don’t fall over. You can even have someone hold the ladder in place for you.
  • If you choose to use a tarp, you can spread it on the ground around where you are cleaning the gutter so debris can fall onto it. Alternatively, you can let the debris fall onto the floor and clean up later.
  • You can remove debris with your hands or your plastic scoop. Be careful not to overstretch and possibly fall. If debris is hard to reach, get off the ladder and move it closer to the debris.
  • After clearing the waste, use the hose to wash off any leftover dirt in the gutters and downspouts. Once you’re done hosing down the gutter, that’s the end of the cleaning process.

An alternative plan is to climb onto your roof and use a strong leaf blower on your uncovered gutters to remove the leaves and debris quickly. This is possible only with a proper sloped roof and the right leaf blower.

For my personal gutters and for many clients we have helped over the years, using a blower is an option half of the time. Some roofs are too steep, are weak and in disrepair, or are inaccessible.

Getting Professional help 

As time goes on, your gutter is bound to get loose or detach. This exposure can lead to foundation damage from water.

It is possible to fix this issue yourself, but it is not easy, and the process can be dangerous.  When you notice your gutter getting lose or detached, call a professional to help.

You may also want help in cleaning your gutters in general. It may be the case that you don’t have the equipment or the time to do it yourself. Most landscaping or lawncare companies have gutter cleaning services. You can also get a sizable discount if you are wanting them to also take care of other aspects of your lawn and home (i.e. grass cutting, leave cleanup, etc.)

The Final Touches On Dealing With Downspout Corners…

There you have it. It is not only possible to round a corner with a downspout because of plantings, walkways, etc., but it is a fairly easy DIY project. If you are needing to reach an already buried drainage system that leads to the street or you are wanting to divert downspout water away from pants or hardscapes, you can easily do it yourself.

See the list above and you will have all you need to make this project a success.

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Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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