Foundation Water Management through Drainage

It is a proven fact that the vast majority of foundational problems are water related; either too much water, or not enough water.  And of the two, more than likely it is too much water that is causing the problem.

There are several reasons that too much water ends up around or underneath foundations.  These include such things as plumbing issues and climate changes, but the number one cause for too much water is simply poor water management.

What is meant by water management?  In general, water management is referring to the overall drainage system of the house and its ability to properly carry surface water away from the house’s foundation and control the water moisture levels.  

During a large rain, a typical roof of a house can dispose of more than 2,000 gallons of water.  Basically, when you can manage the water around your foundation, you can help to control any possible movement in your foundation.  

Many houses in the United States are built on soil that is filled with expansive clays.  This type of soil shrinks and swells based on the amount of water that is in it. This is the primary cause of houses settling and/or heaving.

Water management focuses on ensuring that there is not too much water collecting near the foundation or being absorbed underneath it.  This is achieved mainly through proper drainage.

There are several aspects to implementing an effective drainage system.  The first one is having good gutters. Gutters should be kept clean, secure and properly connected to downspouts.  Keep connections and elbows tightened. Seal any leaks and replace bad sections.

Downspouts should be dumping water away from your house.  If necessary, extend downspouts to carry water at least 6′ away from your home.  Water should not be standing right next to your foundation. Make sure water drains toward the street.

Make certain that splash blocks are tilting downward and clear of the house and do not get plugged up.  If the discharge ends are uncovered, take care that they stay free of debris and water can freely flow out.  

Outdoor pools or hot tubs should be monitored to ensure that water is kept tight.  Any water leaks should be fixed immediately. Also, monitor any walkways, drives, porches or patios that may be tilting toward your home instead of away from it.  Consider having the areas renovated if necessary to avoid too much water near the foundation.

Remember, poor drainage or water management causes more foundation problems than too much dryness or drought.  Even if water is not noticeably standing next to your house, if you do not have suitable drainage in place, it is going underneath the house and increasing your chances of foundational problems.