Drainage problems can lead to big trouble for homeowners, such as backyard erosion. Often these kinds of issues start out small. You may notice a puddle or two in your basement or standing water in your yard after a rainstorm. Water build-up may subtly get worse year after year until one day you see major damage somewhere in your house: uneven foundation settling, flooding in your basement, damage to your home’s siding or windows, or other structural problems. If your wood siding or shingle roof soaks up too much water, the wood can rot, which can promote termite infestation. The fact is, you’ll prevent a lot of headaches and save a fortune on repair costs if you address your home’s drainage problems while they’re still subtle—before they turn into major catastrophes. If not addressed early, drainage issues can wreak havoc on your home. The last thing you want is the headache and heartache of shelling out a small fortune for a problem that could have been prevented if you’d only noticed the signs.
Common Signs of Drainage Problems
- Soil run-off: When soil doesn’t drain properly, rain runs off in sheets, carrying silt, gravel or mulch to sections of your yard or driveway where they don’t belong. Gullies may also form in the landscape.
- Cracks in the Foundation or Basement Walls: Over time, most foundations develop minuscule cracks due to geological shifting and the house settling on the land. However, more significant cracks—anything wider than a fourth of an inch—should be addressed, especially if they are cracks in masonry joints and the wall is bulging. That can indicate high moisture levels, which is putting pressure on the wall.
- Water marks in the basement: Stains from water that ran down basement walls means that water has seeped into the basement over the top of the foundation, probably because of exterior sources of infiltration or due to grading problems. Water lines on basement windows indicate water is being retained, and the window well drain is either badly clogged or missing.
- Mold or mildew in the attic: The attic may seem like an odd place to look for drainage problems. However, moisture from the basement or ground floor can rise to the top of a house and condense on the ceiling of the attic, leading to the growth of mold or mildew. This can be a tipoff that there is excess water at the ground level.
- Water being dumped from your downspouts onto your foundation: Water from your downspouts should be diverted at least five feet away from your foundation. Any distance less than that is too close. Water build-up on your foundation can seep into your basement, damaging personal belongings, home furnishings, and basement flooring and walls.
- Deposits and flaking on the basement walls: If you see a dull white or gray crust on your basement walls, that is a mineral deposit left behind when water evaporates. Patches of the wall’s outer surface coming off in flakes are due to condensation of moisture. Either may be an indication that water is getting inside the masonry.
- Clogged gutters: During rainfall if water spills over the edges of your gutters, sprays like a fountain at the elbow joints, or doesn’t flow out of the bottom of the downspout extensions, these are signs that your gutters may be clogged. Telltale signs when it’s not raining include: eroded soil directly below the gutter, moist or dirty siding beneath the gutter, and peeling paint on the siding. A clogged or defective gutter can cause water to form a pool near the foundation, and allow water to soak into the siding and windows.
If you see any of these signs around your home, it is important to determine the root cause of the problem so you can address the situation head-on. It may be an easy remedy. Basement water problems can often be solved by installing a sump pump or having the basement waterproofed. To prevent water build-up around your foundation, attach rain barrels or diverters to your downspouts. If your gutters are overflowing, you may just need to clear out the leaves that are clogging the downspout. Or, you may need to adjust the gutter so it angles properly. If that doesn’t help, you might need to purchase new gutters. Of course, if you’ve tried taking these “subtle measures” and you still have problems, your best bet is to call a professional. The team at Oasis Landscapes & Irrigation is happy to help. We can diagnose the problem, assess the drainage issue, and suggest repairs and solutions that suit your drainage needs. Even though you might be concerned about water build-up in and around your house, a “landscape solution” might be what’s needed. For instance, a “berm” (a mound of soil) can be created in the part of your yard where you are having the drainage issue, or a “swale” (a wide, shallow ditch) may help redirect the flow of water away from your home. Grading, or putting in a dry well or retaining wall may also be warranted. We can easily take care of these things for you. The team at Oasis Landscapes & Irrigation wants to help you avoid severe landscape and other property damage by designing and implementing dependable drainage systems that will protect your property for a lifetime. We are your water experts, whether it be irrigation or drainage. If you see any signs of drainage problems, please call us at 770-913-9033 or contact us online to schedule a free estimate. We will turn your water nightmares into drainage solutions.