It might seem like common sense but finding drainage problems when they’re smaller and easier to fix can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. Not to mention it can save you from plenty of headaches down the line. You do not have to be an expert or geophysicist to know that things like a lake on the front lawn or puddles in the basement are signs that you may have a drainage problem. Here are some typical instances and the things to look out for.
When an inch of rain falls on 1,000 square feet of a roof it can produce more than 600 gallons of runoff, which is enough to fill about 10 bathtubs to the top. If you are dumping that much water too close to a foundation, it can send it right into your basement. This can ruin flooring and any precious mementos you have stored down there.
When water seeps into the soil around your home, it puts pressure on the foundations walls, which can lead to them cracking. One solution you can look into is adding gutter extensions, which are genuinely cheap. These can carry water an additional five feet or more from your home. A more permanent & effective solution would be the installation of a drywell. These are precast drainage structures or chambers connected to downspouts or surface drains to efficiently and economically collect storm-water runoff and deliver the excess flow to an alternate disposal point, where it can slowly dissipate.
Cracks in Foundation:
Foundations often have small cracks that appear as a home settles over time. Many of these are harmless, but the bigger cracks are the ones you need to watch out for. The rule of thumb is to keep a keen eye on cracks that are larger than ⅛-inch wide. This can be done by marking the ends with an erasable pencil or another writing utensil. You would want to measure these and write it down, if you notice the cracks expanding or growing, then you may have some potential problems.
Sometimes, a crack appears where the original builders finished installing one load of concrete and began pouring another. These cracks usually do not penetrate all the way through. Though if you notice any cracks that continually widen, this indicates that you do have a problem that is ruining the foundation. You will then need to call a structural engineer to diagnose the problem. They will tell you the risks and suggest the proper repairs. Foundation repairs will typically always cost more than addressing improper drainage; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Water Stains in the Basement:
With water stains, what you need to focus on is where the stains show up. A best case scenario is when you see stains high on your foundation wall, this means that the water flow is coming from an overflowing gutter, or even that there is a surface runoff backed up against your house due to improper slope from the soil around your home. Much like downspout extensions, this can be a quick & easy fix.
The worst case for these is when the stain extends in a line around the basement. If that is the case you are potentially looking at a high-water mark caused by a fluctuating water table. The water table is the upper surface of the zone of saturation around your property. Another possible reason behind it is that your basement floor lies below the level of municipal storm drains that have a tendency to back up during heavy rains. In any event, an interior drain system and sump pump is probably necessary to pump any seepage out of your basement keeping all those treasured trophies and possessions dry.
If you see a rainwater pouring over the edge of your gutter, that likely means that debris and dead leaves are blocking its flow. Some things to look for that can identify this problem are mud splattered on siding, paint peeling, and vertical streaks of dirt outside the gutters. These are the sure signs of a blockage, and if you do not take action overflowing gutters can ruin paint jobs, siding, and even cause structural damage.
An ideal scenario here is that leaves are clogging the downspout. All you would need to do is clear them out, or you can hire a pro to do it. Mesh guards are available to place in the gutter to keep debris from entering the downspouts. A non-ideal scenario here is that your gutters are undersized or improperly pitched and need to be reinstalled or even be replaced entirely. On the bright side, it is still cheaper than getting new siding for your home, or running into more extensive water damage issues.
We at LCM PLUS can solve any drainage issues you may be facing. Problems with drainage can sometimes be as simple as regrading the outside area or re-working downspouts. In addition, we also install basement sump pumps as well as interior and exterior french drains and more!
LCM PLUS is experienced in all aspects of drainage solutions and can help you identify problems as well as implement solutions. Working with a proven professional like us means we will be there to work directly with you throughout the entire design and construction process and make your exterior landscaping visions a reality.