Drainage Problems and Cures

Proper drainage around the home is vital to maintaining the integrity not only of the foundation, but the home itself. Proper drainage around the home takes on many different forms and needs to cover as many angles as possible. The role of drainage in the home is to channel excess water away from the fragile foundations to a safe spot away from the home. The first defence against drainage problems is to install and maintain a good gutter system. This catches the rain from the roof, stops it from falling directly onto the ground around the foundation, and through a series of down-spouts drains it further away from the foundation.

There are two good alternatives to sheet flow, which can increase the drainage possibilities around your home. One is a French drain which is made up of a trench that is filled with rock or stone. The other is a swale, which is a small valley created out of two sloped soil surfaces. Both drains collect water, possibly from a down-spout and drain it to a safe distance.

Pooling can also be detrimental to your foundation. This occurs when water leaves a down-spout or drain too quickly and doesn’t have time to disperse. A good way to counteract this is to install splash blocks. As the name suggests water splashes on the block, shooting off in different directions instead of just collecting in one pool. This can be used at the end of many different kinds of drains. Alternatively you can send the water to an area of undisturbed soil. The purpose of both is to send the water away from the house.

There are some areas of the home, which cannot be retrofitted with drainage and these are the areas of the home that use slabs. Slabs are most used in garages or storage spaces. If proper drainage is not in place before the slabs are put in, water can seep below the slab and cause damage. The way to prevent this is to prepare the ground thoroughly by leveling the centre slope down towards the excavation and the thickened end of the slab. Once the soil is compacted and gravel laid on top, the slab can be positioned. The gravel and sand layer below, along with the sloping will effectively drain any excess water.

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