How to connect a downspout to a drain

Updated February 21, 2017

The rooftop directs water away from the interior of the home, but if the water isn't properly drained it will collect around the house and potentially seep in through the foundation. The best way to prevent this water seepage is to direct the water away from the house by connecting the downspouts from your rain gutters to a foundation drain. It's a fairly simple project.

Excavate around the foundation drain, using shovel. Depending on the location of your downspout, you may need to dig a trench from the base of the downspout to the foundation drain. Remove about 1 foot of soil. Make your trench about 8 inches wide, enough to accommodate a 4-inch-diameter section of pipe.

Test-fit a coupler that will fit on top of the exposed foundation drain pipe. If an existing downspout is already attached to the foundation drain, use a "T" type of connector that will accommodate the old downspout and the new one. Test-fit a coupler on the end of the exposed downspout pipe.

Cut a section of 4-inch-diameter PVC pipe that will run between the coupler on the downspout and the coupler on the foundation drain. Measure and mark the PVC pipe, then use your pipe saw to cut the pipe to the proper length.

Test-fit all the pieces before gluing them in place. Use a pencil to mark the different sections of pipe and indicate where they all rest when they are fitted together.

Disassemble the pipes and then apply the PVC cement to the fittings and the cut section of pipe. Fit everything back together in accordance with your pencil markings. Allow the cement to dry.

Replace the soil around the foundation drain, using the shovel.


Consider attaching a cleanout fitting just above where the foundation drain enters the soil. In the event of a clog, a pipe snake can be inserted into the cleanout valve.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Shovel
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and fittings
  • Pipe saw
  • PVC cement
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About the Author

Robert Howard has been writing professionally since 2004 and writes a weekly column for the "Synthesis," a Chico, Calif.-based newspaper. He maintains a blog and has published articles and works of fiction in a variety of different print and online magazines. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego.