Drainage affects the foundation and the structural health of the house

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Published: January 30, 2014 Last Updated: July 17, 2014

Seldom is there a home that has perfect drainage. In most cases, it is something that homeowners live with or just come to accept. Usually when the home was first built it had the proper drainage, since it is a requirement by the building department in order to get the home “finalized.”

Then the landscaping changes…

Once a home is finished, homeowners often add or change the landscaping. They add planters, patios and re-slope the yard in various places, usually without asking themselves how it will affect the drainage.

Changing the landscaping or adding yard drains can easily cure most drainage issues.

Fun! It is often a fun project to create a new look or modify the existing landscaping. Doing this allows those creative genes to shine and by doing the work yourself, you get some exercise.


Remember: Check the drains!

Drains get clogged often and need to be cleaned out.


Drainage diagram

Serious drainage issues should be addressed


If water is running into a home when it rains and you see sandbags lying around, you know that the drainage needs to be improved. Generally the cost of improving the drainage in such cases is not that expensive, especially when you consider the price of the home.

Rememberdrain to the street, not onto your neighbors property.

Standing water

Digging a small channel in the soil or adding an extra yard drain and tying it into the existing system can help the drainage in some places. If there are lower areas in the concrete, then installing a small channel into the concrete may solve the problem. Also, with concrete a small grinder can make a channel for the water to flow off. There are many choices and talking with a landscaper may provide some excellent solutions at little or no cost, especially if you can do the work yourself.

25% of all homes in the United States experience cracking or damage due to expansive soils accordingly to the Society of Civil Engineers

Poor or inadequate drainage may result in a homes foundation shifting or moving a little and since concrete is a very brittle material it may crack when it moves a little; thus incurring structural damage. Not only may the foundation crack, floors may become out of level, sewer pipes may break or roofs may sag.

Other effects may include drywall cracks, floors creaking, doors and windows sticking, (Read more about expansive soils and structural issues)

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