Gutter water spouts or downspouts help move the water accumulated in roof gutters down and away from the house structure. Gutter spouts can be fabricated in a number of ways -- from the basic, squarish-aluminium-pipe design seen so commonly in suburbs today, to downspouts that aren't pipes at all.
Basic, Cheap Methods
Most modern U.S. homes come with a standard, squarish-downspout design made of pressed aluminium sheet metal. It's lightweight, durable, rustproof and cheap.
Aluminium round pipe also tends to be used as downspout material for the same reasons.
Copper piping offers a decorative spout system that changes colour as it ages. The copper won't corrode, but will turn a colourful blue-green as it sits exposed to the elements. This type of copper roof pipe is commonly seen in European cities.
A creative, simple downspout commonly used in older homes in Europe (but first created in Japan) involves connecting a thick chain to the top of the roof corner gutter, to a pit at the ground level filled with large rocks. The water follows the chain body down and the rocks are durable enough to withstand the rain water for decades.
More a utilisation than alternative, routing a downspout into an underground irrigation system for a yard can be designed as well. The water comes down the spout into a pipe that goes underground and distributes the water across the yard using gravity pressure (see Reference 3).
Rain barrels involve a bit of aiming. A spout is attached to the roof corner where the gutters join. This aims the water drain away from the house and then it free-falls into a well-placed large barrel on the ground. Made of durable materials that withstand the elements, the barrels capture water that can hold 50 to 200 gallons of water.
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