Home drainage problems often fit into multiple categories. As we’ve mentioned in other blogs, your home’s drainage is a system. And in a drainage system, troubles may be above ground, below ground, or both. In fact, the trouble may be the ground itself. But let’s start above ground before digging deeper.
The dope on slope
If drainage issues are causing your home’s foundation or basement to leak, here’s an important first step to take: make sure your home has the proper slope or grade. The slope of the soil around your home should allow the water to move away from your home, not toward it. Our blog, Where There’s Slope, There’s Hope has details about determining the proper slope for your home.
If your yard is very flat and your foundation isn’t high enough to allow soil to be added, you may want to consult with us about alternative solutions such as adding an underground slope. This allows water to travel to drain tiles (aka French drains) that are placed far enough away from the foundation to make it safer for your home’s structure and easier to dig.
The lowdown on downspouts
Drainage from downspouts can create an unintended lake in your yard. And an unintended lake doth a wet basement make. (We admit it. We operate a backhoe better than a poet’s pen.) So check those downspouts. Where’s the water coming from and where’s it going?
If too much roof area drains through a single downspout, or through two downspouts very close together, water can pool near your home. Wet spots in the soil eventually turn into trouble spots in your foundation. Think about changing your gutter and downspout configuration by adding more downspouts or rearranging your existing ones.
A rain barrel can come in handy as long as it isn’t allowed to overflow. Here on the “Wet Coast” of BC, you’ll need to check it often and drain it carefully by hooking up a hose leading from the barrel to a garden or flower bed. If you’re handy, you can add a ball valve at the end and allow a steady trickle of water. You’ll need to occasionally open the valve fully when the rain barrel is full. This cleans out the hose and valve. It’s wise to be sure to install an overflow pipe on your rain barrel for those extra rainy days. (Yes, we get a few of those.)
Keep in mind, though, that a rain barrel shouldn’t substitute for properly placed and sloped downspouts. It can be a component of your home’s drainage system, but it certainly shouldn’t be a major component! And it definitely shouldn’t be a substitute for adequate drain tile.
Drain tile, gravel, and soil. Dig?
The main component of your home’s drainage system is drain tile. (See our Home Drainage Problems blog for details.) Drain tiles are a run-off pipe with holes surrounded with gravel. Why gravel and not dirt? Water flows more easily through gravel than through tightly-packed soil. The drain tile and gravel work together to help water flow more efficiently from soggy areas close to your home’s foundation to drier areas of the yard away from your home.
If there’s a problem with your drain tile such as a clog or a break, water can begin to pool and seep into your home’s foundation. Too much hard-packed soil and not enough loose gravel to allow for smooth drainage can have the same effect. And, of course, it’s double trouble when there are issues with both the tile and soil.
Again, your home’s drainage is a system. At Groundhog Excavating, we have the equipment, experience and expertise to analyze the complete system, discuss your options with you, and solve the problem. Get in touch with us today for an analysis and free estimate. Phone 778-233-7499. You can also use our online contact form.