How to Prevent Water Damage With Proper Home Drainage

water drainageRuptured indoor plumbing is a crisis with a high water damage potential to your home. Another less conspicuous external source, silent seepage, may be every bit as damaging over the long term to your home. Rainfall and/or ground water can be insidious natural forces that act against the structure of your house, 24/7/365—even when you’re unaware of it. Proper drainage that conveys water away from the home is the primary preventive measure against damage and deterioration.

Resolving drainage issues means dealing with three factors:

  • Improper grading around the perimeter of the house.
  • Inadequate/faulty dispersal of roof run-off during rainy conditions.
  • Natural ground water rising beneath the foundation.

Grade away from the house

Ideally, the ground around your house should slope downward to promote good drainage and minimize seepage into your house, foundation or basement. Most experts recommend creating a slope that extends at least three feet from the exterior wall at a descending grade of one inch per foot.

If your surrounding landscape contour slopes steeply toward your house, installation of a french drain adds additional drainage capacity. Consisting of a gravel-filled trench with a perforated pipe, the drain collects water and channels it elsewhere out onto the property or out to the street.

Clean gutters and extend downspouts

One inch of rainfall on a typical 1,000 sq. ft. roof creates over 600 gallons of runoff. Clogged gutters will overflow, over-saturating soil directly beneath, which deteriorates the foundation and basement walls. The cascading water also seeps behind siding and infiltrates exterior walls.

Gutter downspouts should extend at least three feet from the house. For better drainage and dispersal further away, bury downspout extensions six feet or longer into a gravel bed covered with topsoil.

Remove ground water

A high water table beneath the house may be a natural feature of local geology. Rising water deteriorates the foundation and causes basement seepage. A sump pump, installed into the house’s foundation or basement floor, collects rising ground water and automatically pumps it to a discharge point outdoors.

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