Your Home: After a dry summer, gutters and downspouts are crucial to preventing foundation issues

Photo credit Matt Grant. Used under a Creative Commons License.

By Chad Taylor

It’s that time of year again: Time for us to talk about gutters and downspouts! Exciting, right? Not really, but it is essential to maintaining a healthy home in Kansas City.

And maintaining a healthy home is key to preserving its value so that when it comes time to sell, you’re getting top dollar for your investment. Believe it or not, properly configured gutters and downspouts are one of the easiest ways to prevent some major issues that can be a real headache to have to contend with when you want to put your house on the market.

This summer has been quite dry and most of our yards are dried up like a sponge that hasn’t been used for weeks. You know, when they dry up and curl a bit? That is exactly what has happened to the soil around your foundation. Although instead of curling up, the soil has pulled away, creating a gap around your foundation walls.

Even if that gap is only a quarter of an inch, that is enough to create what is essentially a funnel around your foundation. The next time that we have rain, that funnel will capture water and allow it to fall right next to your foundation walls and creep in any of the cracks that are present.

If your gutters and/or downspouts are clogged this will only exacerbate the issue. When gutters are full, water tends to spill over the sides (kind of a waterfall effect) just inches from that funnel around your foundation. This is when things get really interesting. This is when seeping becomes a heavy trickle or perhaps a virtual waterfall into your basement. So how to you prevent this fall surprise?

There are three simple solutions:

  • Water your foundation. That’s right, water your foundation. Kansas City is blessed to have many areas of town with huge mature trees. But the root systems of those huge trees are kind of like massive straws sucking the water out of your lawn. By watering the soil around your foundation, you keep the soil right up against your foundation which allows for better watershed away from your home. A best practice could be to install drip hoses around the perimeter of your home, especially if you have bushes or trees close to the foundation. This prevents the soil from pulling back and creating that gap in the first place.
  • Clean your gutters. Enough said. Cleaning your gutters allows for the water to quickly exit your gutters and downspouts and out into the yard. This will prevent the water effect that we discussed earlier which keeps excess rainfall away from your foundation walls.
  • Extend or bury your downspouts. Downspouts should be extended at least six feet or more from your foundation. Unfortunately, most gutter or roofing companies install gutters with downspouts that dump right next to the foundation. This is all wrong! Extending or better yet, burying your downspouts and extending them out into the yard is a best practice. Extending or burying the downspouts finishes the job that the gutters started.

If you have had or do have issues with water getting into your basement, feel free to give me a call at 913-825-7540 or email me directly at for further questions.

Enjoy the cooler weather and get ready for those fall rains!

How have market conditions affected your home’s value?

If you are curious about how these crazy market conditions have affected your home’s value, please take advantage of our team’s free comparative market analysis.

➡️  Just answer a few questions here and we can get started on a review right away.  ⬅️

And if you’re ready to hire us to help you navigate this crazy market, contact us here and we’ll be in touch soon!

This Sponsored Column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3% of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.