Top 5 Costly Home Drainage Mistakes


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Abry Brothers Foundation Repair is a 175-year-old company whose experience has taught us that people repair their homes because of Health, Safety, Peace of Mind, Useable Space, and Resale not a puddle of water.

In a recent study, it was determined that 85% of home repair expenses in the United States come from water damage, and in particular, larger cities see higher than average incidences of this. Misguided landscape irrigation and uncontrollable runoff is the primary reason for such water damages. Foundation and structure are at greater danger of being damaged and thus needing foundation repair work done and water damage can also threaten the sidewalk and driveway of a property. Luckily there is a solution, and much of the damage caused by uncontrolled water can be prevented by minor fixes. The following are some of the issues uncontrolled water can cause:

  • • Damage to concrete and asphalt
  • • Damage to foundation and structure
  • • Deterioration of building materials
  • • Erosion
  • • Insects, spiders, reptiles and rodents
  • • Mold growing
  • • Wood rot

Downspouts and Gutters

One potential solution is to redirect water flow into the gutters and ground, which keeps the rain away from your home’s foundation. It is a simple preventive measure that is at times overlooked by property owners, in both the residential and commercial sectors. Therefore, it is important to always inspect the gutter and downspout system that discharges the runoff close to the foundation. By not doing so, problems such as uneven swelling of expansive soils can occur, which in turn will cause cracking and shifting of your property’s foundation, driveways, parking lot, or driveway. It is also important to be aware of clogs, damages, improper sloping, or even poor installation, all of which can lead to water going over the back of and/or cascading over the top of the gutters.

Having clogged gutters or even gutters with an improper slope can send water down into your home, via the walls and attic. Should this happen, though, bear in mind that it is imperative to not allow the water in the building to rise over 19%. This can quickly lead to rotting of the materials in the building, as well mold growth and insect infestation. To this end, if you begin to notice water flowing from behind your gutters, you must inspect them for water stains in front of the gutters. Downspouts and extensions must be inspected for any signs of damages, as they must always be properly maintained, lest these lead to cracks in your foundation. Keep in mind that the goal is to push downspouts away from the foundation. You may use splash blocks; drain systems and extensions to maintain it.


When a property is built over an area with expansive soils, the foundation is meant to float on the area’s soil as it contracts and expands. The way that the foundation will move is like a single unit on the swelling and receding soil, such as boat will do atop the waves in an ocean. It is important to always keep the same amount of soil around the structure since when the moisture and soil are uneven; it may cause sections of the concrete in the foundation to move up and down separately and not as a single unit. If not repaired properly, it can cause damage and cracks to the foundation, which will require immediate foundation repair. Cracks may begin to become noticeable on the walls and ceilings, and other signs will include stuck doors and windows. Uneven moisture under the foundation will be the leading cause of those issues. It is imperative that all four sides of the home are protected, because if the water gets through the foundation from either side, it will lead the extensive damages to your foundation.

Driveways, Parking Lots and Sidewalks

When soil begins to expand in multiple directions as it captures water, it is because the soil is swelling. As the water in the ground begins to disappear, the property will begin to rise and fall in conjunction with the water cycle, including the driveway, foundation, parking lot, and sidewalk; most damages to those areas are due to the poor preparation of the bed beneath. By applying a layer of crushed rock or gravel, properly compacted, this support will eliminate any movement of the soil.


Proper grading will help fix a drainage problem by whisking water away from the foundation. In order to prevent wood rot and infestation of ants, crickets or termites, it is important to keep the soil level at about 6 inches under all the wooden parts, such as boards, frames, and sidings near the home.

Dirt should slope away from each corner of the foundation at the rate of about 6 inches per 10 feet, though you may also require a drainage system in order to drain the water away from the foundation. You may use concrete leveling when you see that the concrete has settled sloping towards the foundation in order to repair it.

In order to direct water under driveways, sidewalks and parking lots, you may do so by grading at the foundation. Runoff and irrigation water can also be directed away from asphalt and concrete by forming contours. Finally, you may use underground drainage systems, when contouring is not an option, so it can carry drainage to a safer area.

This Article was provided to the NFRA by Abry Brothers Foundation