No offense to the male contractors that have come to my house, BUT lets look at the obvious before suggesting multi-$1000 dollar fixes.  I have many “elephants in the room” on this project and one of them was how to deal with the new location of my down spouts and the proper elimination of rain water from the gutters.

One of the things I did not like about the house when I bought it was the location of the down spouts on the front of the house.  One of the positive outcomes of needing to completely rebuild the box gutters is I was able to move the downspouts to the end of the house, their proper place in my opinion.

Henshaw Ave
Downspout in middle of house, between windows.
Downspouts on ends of house.


What I didn’t know when I made that decision is that the City does not allow you to let gutter water drain in your yard.  Moving the downspouts meant my gutters were no longer connected to the underground drains that are connected to the city sewer system.

Drainage Code, Sec. 1105-03.


Every building, except accessory buildings less than 800 square feet in area, must be equipped with gutters and downspouts connected to an approved sewer. Drains from roofs, sun decks, or promenades open to occupancy must be trapped when connected to a combined sewer. If there is no approved sewer, the downspout must be connected under the sidewalk to the street gutter, or the stormwater must be disposed of in an approved manner on the property. Where stormwater pipes discharge into a paved street gutter, there must be at least one length of cast-iron pipe at the gutter connection. The cast iron section must extend from the gutter to the back of the sidewalk or ten feet away from the gutter, whichever is greater. Subsurface water (e.g. foundation drains, sump lines, etc.) shall not discharge to a paved street gutter.


I had contractors talking about tearing up sidewalks, adding dirt to alter the slope of my yard, and running drain lines 50′ or more all with multi-thousand dollar price tags.  The last plumber that came to the house, who was supposed to just give me a quote for plumbing rough-in brought up the gutters and how he was going to address this problem.  When I asked why that was his focus I was told the City would not give me a Certificate of Occupancy and his permit would not pass inspection if the gutters did not drain properly.  WTH, you’ve got to be kidding me!  Not getting a certificate of occupancy started weighing heavily on my mind, so I decided to take a shovel around the area where the drain is located from the original downspout location on the right front of house.

The new location was only 8′ away, so digging down revealed the simple fix of running a pipe from the downspout to the drain, about $25 in PVC pipe and connectors.  I’ll need to build a wall with landscape brick at the end of house in order to hide the pipe curve (aesthetic fix), but I’m still stunned by how simple this was to do.  So simple that I did the same with the rear drain on the same side of house.  My cousin Cameron did most of the digging on this project (what a God send this young man has been for me).  I spent $40 in PVC pipe and connectors on the rear as there was about 10′ in distance.

The left side of the house will be a little trickier.  The drain on the front of the house is actually built into the concrete patio.  The pipe runs into the basement and has a crack in it.  With every rain, before the gutters were repaired, I would have a puddle in the basement, so I definitely didn’t want to continue using it.  I will trench along the side of the house and connect the front to the rear downspout and utilize the rear left drain (my father’s idea).  As you can see from the picture below the drain is less than 5′ from the end of house. That project I will put on hold until I decide to address the “woolly mammoth in the room” the foundation at the rear of the house.20170726_161544.jpg

Even with renting a trencher I will have under $300 in expense and more sweat equity to fix this issue.  Keep it Simple, that’s a DIYer’s mantra!

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