Having good drainage around your home is an essential part of protecting it from water damage. Without proper drainage, rainwater can pool up around the foundation and seep into the basement or crawl space. This can cause mold growth, rot, and even structural damage to your home over time. The best way to prevent this type of damage is by taking proactive steps to ensure that your gutters, downspouts, and soil grade are working together efficiently to direct water away from the building. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can keep a positive grade of soil directing water away from the home and why it’s important to clean out gutters and extend downspouts when necessary.
🗸 Clean Gutters
It sounds like the simplest thing to do and it is. Sometimes the simple things are the ones that save people the most money, improve their quality of life and keep the task lists from piling up. Your home is no different. Make a regular schedule to clean the gutters and make sure no damage has occurred from fallen trees etc. I’d recommend doing this after the fall leaves have fallen and before the spring rains. But how does this affect my foundation? With too much debris in the gutters, water fills up and spills over the edge. This water slowly builds and builds around the home. It can erode the soil around the home and create a negative soil grade (which we will discuss later) causing water pressure to build on the foundation walls. Basically, your gutters prevent the house from having a moat, like a castle. And although your house may be your “castle” it wasn’t designed to work like one, so clean your gutters!
🗸 Extend Downspouts
After cleaning those gutters you follow the line down and see the downspouts which are dumping all that roof water right on the corner of your home. Sure it may have a turnout, but now the water is maybe 1 foot from the corner? That can’t be good right? Right! Those downspouts should be extended to get water away from the corners of your home. Our method has evolved over time to using ridged PVC pipe to extend that water at least 15 feet from the home and downhill if possible. We bury the extension and include a “wye” pipe at the house so if ever needed you to have an easy access port to clean out the pipe using a plumbers snake. This again is another simple method that solves major problems from occurring. Also, if you do this part right, you’ll never have to do this project again! That’s good motivation to get it off the to-do list!
🗸 Maintain Positive Grade
Years ago, on the first day in a drainage class, I remember the professor saying, “nobody thinks about drainage.” I didn’t realize how true those words would be until seeing the same mistakes being made on countless developments, communities, and homes. But I get it, you can’t have the perfect piece of sloped land to build your house on every time. Regardless of maintaining a positive grade of soil, sloping away from the house is critical to maintaining the foundation of your home. Remember that moat? You don’t want that! Maintaining the grade could be as simple as adding a bit of soil against the home or adding retaining walls and piping water away from the sides of a home depending on how severe the landscape is around the property. Either way actually “think about drainage.”
Water drainage has the biggest impact on your foundation and can be the one thing that makes your house one that lasts hundreds of years or just a couple of years. Most structural issues I come across have full gutters, or downspouts dumping water on the corner of homes or a massive hillside sloped toward the rear foundation wall. It’s not a coincidence. The amount of water that comes down during rainfalls needs to be dealt with properly, hence entire city or county departments that focus on the matter (department of stormwater management). In fact, during the planning stages of major community developments, one of the factors considered is how many houses can be built on a certain size of land. Not because of population density but because of how much water runoff will occur due to the number of roofs added. Keep your home stable and your foundation working without worry. Improve the drainage around your home.