October 2, 2011 in Features

Do It Yourself: Gutter extensions simple, yet effective

Gene Austin McClatchy-Tribune
 

Q. I’d like to have downspout extensions to carry water away from the foundation of my house, but wouldn’t they interfere with lawn work such as mowing and also look pretty tacky sticking out in the yard?

A. If you don’t mind a bit of hassle when heavy rain is expected, you can avoid both problems. Here is a simple and inexpensive way to keep rain water away from the foundation with downspout extensions:

Count your downspouts and buy a 16-foot length of six-inch vinyl rain gutter (yes, gutter) for every two downspouts. Cut each gutter section into two eight-foot pieces with a hacksaw or metal shears (tin snips). You can do the cutting outside the home center or other dealership to make transporting easier.

When significant rain is expected, slide one of the sections under each downspout so that water draining out of the downspout will be channeled away from the house. Make sure the extension slopes downward; prop the downspout end up with a couple of bricks if necessary.

When the rain is over, simply collect the extensions and store them until the next stormy forecast.

You can also get more high-tech gutter extensions that won’t get in the way or be unsightly when not needed. One of the best of these is the Adjust-a-Spout, which screws to the bottom of the downspout.

This extension telescopes from about three feet long to six feet long, or can be folded up against the downspout during dry spells so it is completely out of the way. Adjust-a-Spouts cost about $20 each at some home centers and on the Internet.

Flexible extensions, with accordion-like pleats, are also available and can be used to make a right-angle turn in a downspout’s flow, if necessary, so the water is heading downhill. They are often rather short and you might want to add gutter-type channels, as described above, to extend them.

Any type of downspout extension serves an important role in helping to keep basements dry.

Q. We had our bathtub refinished 10 years ago and it needs it again, but the refinisher told us at the time that the process couldn’t be repeated. I can’t afford a new tub, so what now?

A. I would have another refinisher check the tub to see if there might be a way to refinish it again.

If refinishing really is impossible, your best option is a tub liner or insert – a tough shell of acrylic or other plastic custom-made to fit your tub. It will cost more than refinishing, but a lot less than a new tub.

For more information, visit www.rebath.com, www.bathfitter.com or search for Bathtub Inserts on the Internet.

Questions and comments should be emailed to Gene Austin at gaus17@aol.com. Send regular mail to 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.


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