Easy to forget the gutters of the house … Hanging on the roof, they seem to play their role without problems. However, do they fulfill their main function well? And… precisely, do you know her?

At first glance, often everything is fine:

The gutters show no leaks at their junctions.

Their line is perfect.

No earthy spatter, resulting from erosion of the surface soil, dirties the foundation plaster or the exterior cladding installed at the bottom of the walls.


These are good signs. On the other hand, they do not attest that the gutters fulfill their first duty: to collect all the water flowing from the roof to reject it away from the house in order to protect the foundations from too much water pressure in the building ground. This essential performance turns out to be both unrecognized and neglected.


Concretely, a gutter must be provided with a pipe which discharges the water channeled about 2 m (6.5 ft) from the foundations, in a percolating well for example; otherwise, drain overload is to be expected.

When nothing is going well …

What happens if the foundation drain is overloaded? This anomaly causes the following problems:


 Indoors, it creates discomfort from excessive humidity, but mostly seepage and efflorescence on bare concrete walls – or, worse yet, mold.

Outdoors, it results in maintaining a soggy area on the surface soil.

It also causes premature wear of the foundation drainage system. Fine particles liable to clog it migrate there, or an iron ocher forms there (in certain sandy soils rich in iron).


For more information on these consequences, consult the advice with drain repair Toronto at AqualuxDP: problems and solutions .

Prevent problems at the source

Gutters should be your home’s allies. How to prevent problems? The following sections detail the options to consider.


Plan “A”: connecting the gutter to a percolating well


This technique is very useful for making gutters fully effective.


Also called dry well or soak, the percolating well consists of a section of excavated soil; inside. An underground pipe (not perforated) connects this drainage pit to the gutter; a geotextile membrane must cover the stone before replacing the earth and the lawn.

Installation conditions 

  • The bottom of the percolating well must be above the water table.
  • The “receiving soil” must offer good water absorption capacity.
  • The distance between the installation and the foundation must equal or exceed 2 m (6.5 ft).
  • The size of the well must be established according to the volume of water that the gutter will reject into it.


In all cases, you must consult the municipality in order to know the standards applicable to the evacuation of rainwater coming from the residence – in particular to respect the lateral setbacks of the land.


Note that several municipalities strongly recommend the installation of a percolating well. For them, this installation combines several benefits:

Reduce the risk of problems for residences;

Relieve water treatment plants and municipal sewer networks;

As a result, encourage construction practices that respect the principles of sustainable development.


Plan “B”: Remove the water channeled by the gutter using other arrangements


In the absence of a percolating well, other methods can be used to divert the water captured by the gutter and discharge it away from the foundations – towards a shrub hedge, for example, a vegetable garden, a flower bed, etc. Here are the possibilities:


Connect a vinyl pipe to the bottom of the gutter downspout

It can be a rigid but flexible duct, such as a dryer connection duct. Another option: a retractable plastic duct that unwinds at the slightest discharge of water (like a flute for a children’s party).



Install a plastic or concrete rainwater deflector that protects the lawn

The downpipe of the gutter then discharges onto this accessory placed on the ground. The water surges there and then flows away from the building.


Whenever possible, terminate the downspout with an inclined section evacuating the water further on the ground

The presence of a fence, for example, sometimes facilitates this measurement.


Connect the gutter to a rainwater collection barrel

This water can then be used for other purposes, such as watering flower beds, a vegetable patch, etc.