Why has my drain pipe separated?

If your drain pipe has separated from your gutter, don’t worry, it is usually quick and easy to fix. Furthermore, there are things you can do to stop it from happening again.

Drain pipes are also known as down pipes and fall pipes.

Rainwater gushing down the side of the house rather than draining down the designated drain pipe is a common problem experienced by thousands of homeowners every year. Drain pipes can easily separate from the gutter outlet if it hasn’t been secured properly or if it has been cut too short. This problem is mostly related to plastic gutters because UPVC roofline products including gutters and drain pipes expand and contract as they warm up and cool down causing it to move around. Subsequently the pipes creep along their securing brackets holding them and eventually separate. You can even hear the cricking and cracking on warm sunny days as they expand and move about.

How to fix a detached down pipe

Firstly, make sure the pipe is long enough to carry rainwater from the outlet to the exit point by measuring the distance between the outlet collar and the point of discharge such as the floor drain, down pipe shoe, or branch, and compare the measurement against the length of the pipe.

Next check that there are enough pipe brackets supporting the pipe and that they are firmly secure to the wall. A minimum of 3 pipe brackets on a 5m pipe is required and they should be equally spaced. If the pipe brackets are not gripping the pipe and are loose or baggy, they may need to be re drilled so that they are able to pinch the pipe to prevent movement.

Finally, the drain pipe needs to sleeve over the gutter outlet, if it’s loose or baggy, you can either wrap a few layers of insulation tape around the base of the outlet collar to make the connection tighter. Alternatively, you can drive a small short screw through the drain pipe and into the collar to connect them together. It’s important that you don’t use a long screw as this will create a place for debris to trap and cause blockages in the future.

If you have swan neck detail that brings the drain pipe around a soffit board, it may be worth wrapping the collar on each 112 degree connection with a few layers of  insulation tape before inserting the drain pipe sections to make all of the connections tighter.

A swan neck joint consists of two 112 degree offset joints.

Gutter Diagram


Don’t be tempted to permanently glue or solvent weld the connections together as this would remove your ability to strip the pipe apart if it were to get blocked.

Want to silence noisy gutters? read more here.

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