Sidewalks, patios and driveways pose special problems for gutter drainage. Many times the roof design of the house requires a downspout in an inconvenient location. In colder climates water from gutters draining onto a sidewalk entranceway can be dangerous as the water will freeze making a slip-and-fall hazard. Draining the water into a flower bed between the house and the walk is not an option because the concrete or brick pavers will act like a dam, holding water against the basement wall and contributing to wet and leaking basements. A Cross Sidewalk Drain (CSD) is designed to carry away rainwater from down spouts safely and discreetly across the sidewalk, driveway or patio.
Think about your rain gutters as a total “system”. Start by making sure the gutters are clean. You don’t need me to remind you that cleaning gutters twice a year is a must. The spring cleaning, after the seeds and helicopters come down, is the most important. Many seeds float and quickly make their way to the downspout where it will become clogged in no time. The spring cleaning, after the seeds and helicopters come down, is the most important.
Three to four foot extensions are needed at the bottom of the downspout. The lower elbow should be about sixteen inches above the ground to ensure good slope for drainage. The ground or grade around the house must allow water to drain away from the foundation. Rain barrels can also be used to catch and store rainwater. There is a fitting at the bottom of the rain barrel so a common garden hose can be attached letting you use the water as needed in your flower or vegetable gardens.
Now you can take on the task of draining rainwater under and away form areas where there is pedestrian or car traffic around your house. “Cross Sidewalk Drains (CSD)” come in several premade styles and sizes. The most economical CSD is a tough polypropylene trough and grate and is appropriate for most pedestrian applications. Heavier duty CSDs with of polymer concrete trough and a metal grate cover that is installed across the walk or drive will give a flush, safe surface to walk or drive on. (ACO Markant is one manufacturer of CSDs http://www.acomarkant.com/ )
Do not use pipe or irrigation tubing because these will eventually become clogged and there is no way to clean them. Animals such as rats will use them for a home. The metal grate on a CSD can be lifted for cleaning and because it open to light and air rodents will find it an unattractive place to make a home.
If you are working with an existing sidewalk or patio it will require some concrete or paver block cutting. The heavy power tools needed to make clean and accurate cuts are available at your local tool and equipment rental store. Make sure that you have enough slope on the CSD so the water will drain properly under the sidewalk. A French drain or a rain garden may also be needed on the opposite side of the walk too.
A concrete or brick paver contractor will also install Cross Sidewalk Drains but as always, make sure your contractor is licensed and insured.