My house faces North. I have down spouts on all four corners of the house.

My challenge is that in the late winter/ early spring, the sun melts the snow off the roof and comes down the downspouts.

On the South side of the house, it's warm enough that the water flows away, and when it doesn't there's no one walking there.

On the North side of the house, it's in the shade. When the water hits the ground/concrete of the driveway/walkway it basically freezes instantly. The North East corner is OK, because no one walks there. However, on the North west corner (where the * is in the picture below), we get a huge buildup of ice there.

The treatment so far has been mechanical (chipping ice away) and chemical (salt). As it's summer now, it's a good opportunity to fix it permanently.

I've had straight extensions on that downspout to extend the flow somewhere better, but:

  1. It tends to get stepped on by letter/paper carriers
  2. I can't angle it enough to make a real difference without directing it onto the neighbour's walkway
  3. If there's any buildup of snow at the bottom, it tends to back the water up into the extension and turns it into an ice log.

I've thought about adding a catch basin or running it down the yard underground in a weeping-tile pipe. But on both cases, I'm afraid of it also becoming a block of ice as well.

Any thoughts on away around this?

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  • It's salt (and sand) or a broken ankle right now, and your comment is not really relevant to the problem.
    – BIBD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 16:57
  • I ran an experiment with a long rigid pipe this year to extend the downspout out much further. Worked a lot better, but ugly as sin. My current thought is to convert the no-man's land between my neighbour's and I into a swail to move/contain the water a lot faster down to where there is some serious change in the grade and it can move the water quickly to the street.
    – BIBD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 17:17
  • 1
    If this issue is still unresolved, could you post a picture or two of the downspout in question. This may help get better answers.
    – J Crosby
    Oct 7, 2019 at 19:54

4 Answers 4


I'm not a professional, and I have very little experience. But:

Could you adjust the slope of your gutter?

Currently, rain rolls north off the roof, gets to the gutter, half goes east and half goes west. If you lower the north-east corner of the gutter (and gently slope the whole gutter toward it) a majority of the rain would head down the east spout instead of onto your driveway.

  • A slight derivative of your idea is to put a "belly" in the gutter anywhere to the east of the driveway and relocate the west downspout to this point. The result is similar in that water and ice no longer accumulate on the west side of the driveway, but the water doesn't have to travel so far in the gutter (and is less likely to freeze in the gutter while in transit). A bit of heat cable can keep the downspout clear and ice that accumulates on the ground east of the driveway won't be any problem. West gutter may have to be adjusted so it all flows to the SW corner.
    – Greg Hill
    Oct 7, 2019 at 22:39

We design heating cables into driveways and sidewalks for areas that can have an icy buildup and buildings that must have safe access, like medical clinics, hospitals, fire departments, etc. Also, high-end residents will often request it.

Here’s a link for new or retrofit work: http://systems.warmquest.com/radiant-driveway-heating-systems/?gclid=CjwKCAjwxOvsBRAjEiwAuY7L8nf2UgwO6lrlQa7gdDArcySc_ugLc8oGkuY7pbjFos1TVQjG7KjHSxoCx8UQAvD_BwE

You can install it with a manual on-off switch or a thermostat to turn on automatically.


I would dig a trench to somewhere convenient, put in a drain pipe and run the downspout into that. That's probably what you mean by a "weeping-tile pipe". This works well for me out of a corner that never gets sun despite the pipe not being very deep - it runs under a patio for about 30' and is probably only about 18" under the surface.

  • Hehe.... I've got a frost line that goes down 6-8' on average years and doesn't leave until June.
    – BIBD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 17:13

I would suggest the cheapest in my mind would be direct your spout to the West. If your houses driveway is facing Northwest is to the left of the picture. I am answering this because I believe the spout is now facing North, correct! and I am not sure how much property you have to the west of your house. Hope this was helpful.

  • Can you elaborate on why you think this setup change would make a difference?
    – Machavity
    Jan 10, 2019 at 1:28
  • Not enough property to the West. 1) the neighbour's walkway is there, 2) the by-law prevents me from discharging water across their properly - only to the street.
    – BIBD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 17:01

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