Excessive rainfall, especially in areas with vast clay soils, can cause severe damage to the foundation of a house while also polluting drinking water. As a result, managing stormwater in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment or other homes in the area can be a challenging task. Deciding how to channel runoff may become even more complicated, further exacerbating the situation. Fortunately, there are several strategies homeowners can use to reroute water away from their foundation while maintaining control over the amount of water leaving the property via runoff. In this article, we will discuss the top three solutions homeowners can use to prevent water from damaging their foundations and polluting their runoff while also reviewing some of the most common pitfalls homeowners face while employing these methods. We will begin with French drains, discussing their purpose and function, their potential downsides, and how to use them effectively if they are the right choice for you. We will then move on to the use of gutters and downspouts, analyzing how they work, how to use them correctly, and their limitations. Finally, we will discuss how, by installing a swale on one’s property, homeowners can effectively direct water away from their foundation while keeping the drainage systems from becoming clogged and polluted.
Install a French Drain, But Do It Properly
When considering how to keep water away from the house foundation, installing a French drain is an excellent option. A French drain is an irrigation system designed to collect water from the earth around the foundation of your home and transport it to a safe location for disposal. However, it is crucial to ensure that the French drain is installed correctly. Failure to do so can have negative ramifications, primarily if the slope of the drain pipe is insufficient, as this can impede the flow of water. The drain pipe’s slope must be adequate to prevent water from backing up and to channel it correctly. Most installers, unfortunately, fail to follow the required slope, which is approximately a 14-inch drop for every linear foot. It is also essential to consider the appropriate location for disposal of the water. Some contractors simply redirect the water to a different area of the property, but drainage beyond that point must also be taken into account. French drains may cause surface drainage issues if not properly drained in the vicinity of lawns, pavements, and curb-installed storm water systems. Additionally, excess water needs to be channeled to a place where soil saturation will not be problematic. Connecting French drains to existing storm drain systems is possible, and many communities require permits to do so. Doing so effectively will ensure that the drain functions as an efficient method of diverting water away from the foundation and reduces the impact on stormwater management and the danger of contaminating aquifers.
Use Gutters and Downspouts
Another strategy to keep water away from your home’s foundation is by using gutters and downspouts properly. Downspouts that drain at the base of your house are a common mistake many homeowners make, causing water to accumulate around the foundation and cause severe damage. This issue is particularly problematic in locations that have vast clay soils. To prevent this problem, homeowners can use downspout extensions to redirect runoff to a different part of their property where there is less concern about wet soil. However, during excessive rain, downspout extensions may be inundated and, therefore, ineffective. Alternatively, homeowners can construct an underground drainage system that collects rainwater from downspouts and directs it to an existing stormwater drain pipe or the roadway. Although helpful for limiting the damage caused by rainwater to foundations, these underground systems can be problematic for the stormwater management systems of municipalities. A practical alternative to using gutters and downspouts is to use rain barrels or other rainwater collection systems to capture and treat rainwater where it falls. During dry seasons, homeowners can use this collected water for residential purposes or for watering plants, which uses less water from the main source. Such collecting tanks keep excess runoff away from your home’s foundation, and certain cities even provide rebates on stormwater management costs to homeowners who implement such rainwater collection systems.
Install a Swale on the Property
Homeowners may also opt to install a swale on their property for a natural and secure way to divert water away from the foundation. A swale is essentially a dip in the landscape where water can accumulate safely. To take advantage of its benefits, homeowners must be strategic in designing their swale: most property owners will build their swales to grade towards the depression, encouraging runoff to flow into the shallow basin. Wet swales are useful in areas with significant rainfall and may contain aquatic plants to reduce slope erosion. In contrast, dry swales are practical in areas with less rain but heavier precipitation at certain times of the year. Homeowners can also choose certain plant species to be planted within the swale so that it still looks attractive even when rain is scarce. Swales are often combined with gutter drainage systems and French drains to achieve maximum efficiency. Sizing the swale appropriately is a crucial task, since incorrect sizing may result in excess water buildup, rendering it ineffective. These basins do not only keep water away from the foundations but also prevent excess runoff from entering the streets while helping to limit the danger of water sources being polluted or pavement being damaged. Some cities even offer lower stormwater management costs to homeowners who build swales on their homes in exchange for wastewater collection and treatment from downspouts.
How do you keep water away from a foundation?
One of the crucial considerations when it comes to preventing damage to your foundation is keeping water away. In order to ensure that water doesn’t pool around your foundation, you should have sufficient downspouts connected to the gutter system in place. Unfortunately, sometimes the downspouts are too short and release water next to the foundation, leading to expensive damages down the line. But you can easily avoid this issue by installing downspout extensions. These can effectively manage the flow of water, carry it away from the foundation, and release it far from your home to prevent any potential damages. The best part is that adding downspout extensions is not only easy and quick but can also be an affordable solution to protect your foundation from water damage.
Why is it important to waterproof your foundation?
Your home’s foundation is critical to its structural integrity, and protecting it from water damage is key to maintaining its health. Over time, water infiltration can cause cracks in your foundation, which, if left untreated, can pose safety hazards to you and your family and lower the value of your home. By waterproofing your foundation, you’ll prevent water from penetrating it both from the outside and inside, thereby protecting it from weakening over time. This will save you the headache of having to undertake costly repairs in the future, putting you in a financially tight spot. So take the proactive approach by waterproofing your foundation to ensure the long-term health of your home.
What can I do if my house is leaking water?
Water damage is a severe problem for most homeowners, and it’s essential to address it as soon as it occurs. If you detect water leaking into your house, then it’s crucial to take a proactive approach to prevent it from causing severe damage. One of the first things you can do is regrade your yard properly to prevent water from pooling around the foundation of your house. If you’re noticing pooling, it’s highly likely that the drainage isn’t directing excess water away from your home correctly. A quick and effective solution to this is to install a drain tile system. Drain tile systems are an effective way to manage the flow of water around your house and prevent it from causing any damage to your foundation. Unlike other solutions, a drain tile system is a reliable, long-term solution that can provide you with exceptional results and peace of mind. With this solution in place, you can rest assured that your home is protected from water damage, and your foundation’s integrity is secure.
What happens if your foundation is damaged by water?
Water infiltration can create lasting damage to your foundation, with moisture triggering the formation of cracks that can lead to further systemic issues. Not addressing the problem in time can weaken your foundation, which in turn leaves your home unsafe and at risk of collapse. Additionally, water damage to your foundation can be a pricey endeavor, forcing you to undertake expensive and lengthy repair projects. This is why it’s essential to take timely action and prioritize damage control if your foundation shows any signs of compromise. Waterproofing your foundation is one way to avoid future water damage and protect your home’s structural integrity. There are various techniques you can leverage to safeguard your foundation and protect it from potential leaks, with experienced contractors in the industry ready to assist you.