Home Drainage Mistakes

In a recent study, it was determined that 85% of home repair expenses in the United States come from water damage. Misguided landscape irrigation and uncontrollable runoff is the primary reason.  Luckily there is a solution, and much of the damage caused by uncontrolled water can be repaired by minor fixes. The following are some of the issues uncontrolled water can cause:

  • Damage to concrete and asphalt
  • Damage to foundation and structure
  • Deterioration of building materials
  • Erosion
  • Insects, spiders, reptiles and rodents
  • Mold growing
  • Wood rot

Downspouts and Gutters

One potential solution is to redirect water flow into the gutters and ground, which keeps the rain away from your home’s foundation. It is a simple preventive measure that is at times overlooked by property owners. Therefore, it is important to always inspect the gutter and downspout system that discharges the runoff close. It is also important to be aware of clogs, damages, improper sloping, or even poor installation. All of which can lead to water going over the back of and/or cascading over the top of the gutters.

Having clogged gutters or even gutters with an improper slope can send water down into your home, via the walls and attic. Should this happen, this can quickly lead to rotting of the materials in the building, as well mold growth and insect infestation. Keep in mind that the goal is to push downspouts away from the foundation. You may use splash blocks; drain systems and extensions to maintain it.


When a property is built over an area with expansive soils, the foundation is meant to float on the area’s soil as it contracts and expands. The way that the foundation will move is like a single unit on the swelling and receding soil, such as boat will do atop the waves in an ocean. It is important to always keep the same amount of soil around the structure since when the moisture and soil are uneven. It may cause sections of the concrete in the foundation to move up and down separately and not as a single unit. Cracks may begin to become noticeable on the walls and ceilings, and other signs will include stuck doors and windows. It is imperative that all four sides of the home are protected.

Driveways, Parking Lots and Sidewalks

When soil begins to expand in multiple directions as it captures water, it is because the soil is swelling. As the water in the ground begins to disappear, the property will begin to rise and fall in conjunction with the water cycle. This includes the driveway, foundation, parking lot, and sidewalk. Most damages to those areas are due to the poor preparation of the bed beneath. By applying a layer of properly compacted crushed rock or gravel the added support will eliminate any movement of the soil.


Proper grading will help fix a drainage problem by whisking water away from the foundation. In order to prevent wood rot and insect infestations it is important to keep the soil level at about 6 inches under all the wooden parts of your home.

Dirt should slope away from each corner of the foundation at the rate of about 6 inches per 10 feet. You may also require a drainage system in order to drain the water away from the foundation. Concrete leveling can  be used when you see that the concrete has settled sloping towards the foundation in order to repair it.

In order to direct water under driveways, sidewalks, and parking lots you may do so by grading at the foundation. Runoff and irrigation water can also be directed away from asphalt and concrete by forming contours. Finally, you may use underground drainage systems to carry the drainage to a safer area.

As seen on the NFRA website.