If your back yard looks like you have a lake front lot after a rain storm, then you’ve got drainage problems. Poor yard drainage can cause a variety of problems including foundation cracks, rotted siding, rot to wood structural components, mold in crawl spaces or in basements, erosion and migrating soil and mulch.
How does a drainage problem develop?
Grading: Rain water flows downhill following the path of least resistance. If downhill is toward your house, then you have a problem. After a foundation is poured, the cavity is often back-filled with loose soil rather than compact soil. Over time the soil settles creating a low grade leaning toward the house where water can collect.
Roof Drainage: One inch of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot roof produces 623 gallons of water that will run off the roof. Gutters and downspouts are part of the roof drainage system. Gutters collect rain water running off the roof. Downspouts direct water from the gutters and discharge it onto the ground. Incorrect installation of gutters can cause the roof drainage system to fail. The velocity of the water exiting downspouts can erode soil adjacent to the foundation creating low areas where water will stand. This standing water will seep into and saturate the soil. It can also put pressure on basement and crawl space foundation walls potentially cracking them.
Here are some steps to take to make sure your yard is draining well:
Check Gutters: If water is overflowing your gutters, then leaves and other debris may be blocking the flow of rain water draining from your roof. If there are dirt streaks on the outside of the gutters, they may be too small or they may not be correctly slanted to drain properly. Gutters should be tightly attached to the fascia boards and sloped toward the downspout.
Evaluate Downspouts: Water from a downspout should never be allowed to splash directly onto the ground at the foundation. Downspouts should discharge onto splash blocks that absorb some of the energy from the falling water to prevent erosion at the foundation. Installing downspout extenders to direct water six feet away from the foundation is a better solution. Rigid black corrugated pipe attached to downspouts can be used to create an underground drainage system to direct water even further away from the foundation.
Avoid Standing Water: The ground may need to be raised adjacent to the house with properly compacted soil. Avoid creating flat areas instead sloping the land toward a swale or rain garden. The grade should slope away from the house at least 5% for every 10 feet.
Directing water away from your house is less expensive than removing water from a basement or crawl space and repairing damage to structural house components.If you think you have a drainage problem, don’t hesitate to call in a professional foundation repair company such as Atlantic Foundation and Repair at 919-855-0855.