Let’s Talk About Water Drainage

This topic isn’t sexy or exciting like choosing color combinations, enhancing curb appeal or creating outdoor living spaces to take advantage of long summer days. But believe me, if you neglect thinking through water drainage options none of those other fun topics will matter as you may end up with anything from water stains to black mold or even a damaged foundation.  What option you choose depends on the amount of rainfall in your area, the location of the drain and thus the aesthetics of it and finally whether your home has a basement or any partially subterranean area.

  1. Grading Drainage

If you are building a new home this option should be a priority to discuss with the builder.  Many builders forget about the grade around the house in their preoccupation with the brick and mortar of the house.  Make sure you discuss water drainage and lot grading with your contractor!  If you are experiencing standing water or water drainage in the wrong direction or into an element of an existing home, grading may still be an option although it can be expensive and one of the following solutions is likely a better option.

  1. Gutters

Gutters, the aluminum or vinyl channels along the roof’s edge, are essential to any home in areas of high rainfall with saturated soil or poor grating.  They are economical and simple to install, providing excellent drainage of rain water exiting your roof.  The key question to be considered when installing gutters is where you want the final exit of the water to be.  Make sure to discuss this with your installation professional.

  1. Channel Drains 

This drainage option can be thought of as an underground gutter system where a trench is dug and a form of gutter is place into the trench with a grating system as a cover over the channel.  Channel drains are cheap and very effective in areas where the ground is easily saturated or where pooling occurs.  The only real drawback to channel drains is the aesthetic as you may not want a metal grate cutting across your lawn.

  1. French Drains

French drains are an American invention that came from the agriculture industry and are similar to a channel drain but are not visible as they have no exterior grate.  A perforated pipe is laid in the trench before the trench is filled with gravel.  A layer of protective permeable fabric is laid on top of the gravel which is covered in soil and sod or whatever material the surrounding area consists of.  These drains work just like a channel drain although can require more maintenance as they may, at times, fill with silt or debris. 

  1. Sump Pump

A sump pump system is in a category all by itself but is a must for basements or subterranean living spaces!  A trench is dug around the entire interior perimeter of the home, sloping toward the lowest corner where a sump pump is installed.  A perforated pipe is placed in the trench and covered with a filter system, usually gravel, before being sealed with concrete.  Water that seeps past the foundation or over the footers of the home is thus filtered down to the pump and then pumped out of the house.  Most of these systems are guaranteed for the life of the home and are a small price to pay to avoid water damage and/or mold.

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding any of these water drainage options.