I have a gutter downspout about halfway through the lower section of a flat roof that currently connects to a rain barrel. The barrel is poor quality and sprung a leak that I have tried patching multiple times, and it's a bit of an eyesore. I'd like to cap the downspout and remove the rain barrel, but I'm not sure if this would put unnecessary load on the remaining gutter on that side of the house.

Is this something I can do without risking the water overflowing? I don't want to install a downspout there because of its inconvenient location that isn't on a corner.

Also, if I can cap it, how do you go about doing that? Would I just put a shingle over the downspout hole in the roof and seal it, or is there a more proper way?

See photos for more info.

straight on view

corner view

I can't get up on the roof at the moment, but it looks something like the following photo with a round drain, but then a square cutout instead of a round cutout:

sample roof drain

  • A photo of the roof would help. We don't have downspouts coming through the roof like that in my area, so I'm not sure what I'm looking at. In any event, plugging a drain probably isn't wise. Can't you install a full downspout at that location?
    – isherwood
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:45
  • Ah shoot, I thought I had a photo of the roof but I can't find it. I'll see if I can get up there and get one before snow starts falling this morning. As far as installing a full downspout, the problem is that it would go across the concrete path (from the door, to another part of the yard off to the right in the first photo) in order to drain away from the house/concrete and I don't want people stepping over it. Or could I install it and combine it with the spout on the corner of the house? (I hope all of that made sense, but let me know if you need clarification). Jan 4, 2017 at 17:18
  • I assumed that you'd run it along the foundation and terminate it near the other one, but that might be too much flow in that area. Still, I'd assume that if you plug the drain you'll have standing water on your roof.
    – isherwood
    Jan 4, 2017 at 17:21
  • Gotcha. That's what I was afraid of. So the water wouldn't flow automatically to the corner drain? (I know, probably hard to say without seeing photos). I did add a picture of what the drain basically looks like, based on something I found online. Jan 4, 2017 at 17:25
  • @xboxremote Depending on the slope of the roof (flat roofs aren't actually flat), it might flow to the other downspout - or it might simply flow off the roof, onto your walkway. It may flow towards the other downspout, but then flow off the roof there as the corner downspout wasn't sized to handle that much water. These things may only happen in very heavy rains, or even in light rain. Hard to tell without knowing the details of the roof and downspout system
    – mmathis
    Jan 4, 2017 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


It appears that the gutter system was was designed with that downspout, so you should retain that downspout as part of the gutter system. From the pictures you have, I only see one downspout, with a large roof section (including the second level roof which I assume drains to it as well).

  • How can you tell that downspout wasn't added later, without even any photos of the roof? Jan 5, 2017 at 21:01
  • I do think you're right about that downspout being original. It's hard to see, but in the first photo, if you follow a straight line from the spout towards the camera, and look where the concrete slab meets the river rocks (and where the seam between the two slabs meet), you might see a chunk of concrete in the rocks. I'm assuming that chunk was holding something related to the spout when it was built. Jan 5, 2017 at 23:36
  • However, I don't know if I understand what you mean by "I only see one downspout"? There are two downspouts visible in both photos on that portion of the roof. Unless I'm misunderstanding the term downspout. And you're right, that half of the upper roof does drain onto the lower roof (which you can kind of see in the second photo on the corner of the upper roof). There are, however, downspouts directly to the ground on the other corners of that upper roof. Jan 5, 2017 at 23:38
  • I went ahead and marked this one because I'm going to play it safe and keep the downspout. For now I'll just patch the rain barrel again, but in the future I'll try to figure out a way to run the spout so it isn't a tripping hazard. Jan 10, 2017 at 16:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.