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Downpipes are an essential part of any plumbing system, as they’re responsible for directing rainwater and other fluids away from a building's foundation. Without them, water can accumulate near the foundation, leading to leaks, water damage, and even structural damage. 

There are different types of downpipes available in the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. We'll explore the different types of downpipes, their materials, sizing, installation, maintenance and repair, and accessories.


  • Materials
  • Sizing
  • How to install downpipes
  • How much does it cost to install downpipes?
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Choosing the right professional
  • Questions to ask your tradesperson
  • Downpipe FAQs



Downpipes can be made of different materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. PVC is one of the most popular options, as it’s lightweight, durable, and resistant to corrosion. Copper is another option, known for its durability and longevity. However, it’s more expensive than other materials and can be difficult to install. Steel is a third option, popular for its strength and durability. Keep in mind it can be prone to rust and may require more maintenance than other materials.


Choosing the right size of downpipes is crucial for encouraging efficient water drainage. Downpipes that are too small may not be able to handle the volume of water, leading to overflow and potential damage. 

On the other hand, downpipes that are too large can be costly and unnecessary. Determining the appropriate size depends on several factors, such as the amount of rainfall in the area, the size of the roof, and the slope of the roof. A professional plumber can help determine the appropriate downpipe sizes for a specific building or area.

How to Install Downpipes

Proper downpipe installation is essential to ensure they function correctly, while preventing leaks and other issues. 

The first step in installation is to determine the appropriate location for the downpipes. They should be placed in areas that are easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance. 

Next, the downpipes need to be connected to the gutter system, then secured to the building's exterior with brackets or straps. Finally, the they need to be tested for leaks and proper water flow.

How much does it cost to install downpipes?

The cost of installing downpipes in Australia can vary depending on several factors, including the location, the size of the property, the type of downpipes, and the complexity of the installation. On average, the price can range from $300 to $1,500 for both materials and labour. 

To get a more accurate estimate for your specific situation, reach out to local plumbers or roofing companies in your area. They will be able to assess your requirements, provide a detailed quote, and give you a better understanding of the costs involved in installing downpipes for your property.

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Maintenance and Repair

With regular cleaning, you can stop leaves, twigs, and other organic matter from accumulating in the gutters and eventually blocking the downpipes, preventing water overflow and potential damage. You should also inspect them regularly for signs of damage such as cracks, leaks, or corrosion. If you find any issues, you should get a downpipe repair as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Learn more: How to Clear Guttering



There are various accessories that can be used with guttering and downpipes to enhance their functionality. Gutter guards are one option that can be used to prevent debris buildup in the gutters and downpipes. These guards come in different materials such as mesh, foam, or brush inserts. 

Splash blocks are another accessory that can be used to direct water away from the building's foundation, and they come in different shapes and sizes.

Choosing the Right Professional

Choosing the right tradesperson to install or maintain your downpipes is important to ensure the job is done correctly and prevent potential issues. Here are some tips to help:

Licensing and Insurance 

When hiring a plumber or contractor to install or maintain your downpipes, make sure they’re licensed and insured. This will give you peace of mind knowing that they’re qualified and capable of doing the job correctly. Insurance will also protect you in case of any accidents or damages that may occur during the installation or maintenance process.


Look for a plumber or contractor with experience and expertise in downpipe installation and maintenance. Ask for references and check their online reviews to get an idea of their past work.

Get Multiple Quotes

Before hiring a contractor, ask for a detailed estimate that outlines the work that will be done, the materials that will be used, and the cost. This will help you avoid any surprises or unexpected costs later on.

It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different plumbers businesses to ensure you’re getting a fair price for the work. However, be wary of quotes that are significantly lower than others, as this may indicate lower quality work or the use of inferior materials.


Choose a contractor who communicates clearly and promptly. You want to work with someone who is responsive to your questions and concerns and keeps you informed throughout the installation or maintenance process.


Questions to Ask Your Tradesperson

Here are some questions that can be helpful to ask when hiring a tradie for your job:

  • Can you provide references from previous work?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have specific experience installing downpipes?
  • How do you communicate with customers during the process?
  • Are you flexible with your schedule, and can you work on weekends if necessary?

Downpipe FAQs

How often should I clean my downpipes?

Downpipes should be cleaned at least twice a year, preferably in spring and autumn. However, if you live in an area with a lot of trees, you may need to clean your downpipes more often.

How can I tell if my downpipes are clogged?

One of the most common signs of a clogged downpipe is water overflowing from the gutters during heavy rain. You may also notice a decrease in the water flow from the downpipes or water stains on the building's exterior.

What size downpipes do I need for my home?

The size of your downpipes will depend on several factors, such as the size of your roof, the amount of rainfall in your area, and the slope of your roof. Consulting with a professional plumber can help you determine the appropriate options for your home.

Can I install downpipes myself, or do I need a professional plumber?

While it is possible to install downpipes yourself, it is recommended to have a professional plumber install them to ensure proper installation and prevent issues down the track.

What are the best materials for downpipes?

The best material for your downpipes will depend on your specific needs and preferences. PVC is a popular choice due to its lightweight and durability, while copper is known for its longevity. Steel is also a strong and durable option, but it is prone to rust and requires more maintenance.

How do I know if my downpipes need to be replaced?

If your downpipes are showing signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or corrosion, it may be time to replace them. You should also consider replacement if they’re more than 20 years old.

Can downpipes be painted?

Yes, downpipes can be painted to match the colour of your building's exterior. However, it is important to use a paint that is suitable for the specific material of your downpipes.

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All the costs quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are to be used as an AUD cost guide and may vary locally, and are subject to market changes.

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