Texas Living

3 Things You Need for Proper Water Drainage

By Kristy Alpert 9.13.17

There’s nothing like the sound of rain hitting your roof. But where is that rain going? It could be flowing from your roof straight into your foundation if you don’t have good water drainage — meaning April showers could be bringing a lot more than May flowers to your home unless you put a few preventive measures in place. 

As the rainy season hits, it’s important to catch weak spots early to prevent a small puddle from spreading into a costly problem. Poor water drainage puts your foundation at risk from soil erosion and swelling and could even open your home to flooding. These three things can help you ensure rainwater flows away from your home, not into it.  

Gutters and Downspouts

Downspouts and gutters help prevent water falling from roof eaves from pooling around the foundation, which could cause the soils under your foundation to swell or erode.

“Soils with high clay content — common in Texas — can swell and lift foundations,” says Chris Maxwell-Gaines, owner and engineer at Innovative Water Solutions LLC in Austin, Texas. “If the soils on one side of the house swell, this can cause differential movement of the foundation, leading to unleveled floors and cracking of drywall.”

Soil erosion around the house “could cause openings or gaps, leading to an unsupported foundation,” Maxwell-Gaines says.

A Positive Slope

Sloping the ground upward to the foundation of your house is essential to achieving proper drainage.

“This could entail removing and grading the soil and possibly creating a swale path to make sure water runoff has the ability to move downhill,” Maxwell-Gaines says.

Current building code calls for a slope of no less than 5% (.5 inches per foot) for a minimum distance of 10 feet. “This will ensure the movement of storm-water runoff away from the foundation,” Maxwell-Gaines says.

A Trench Drain

Also make sure that if your driveway slopes toward the garage, it has a swale or trench drain to divert runoff from the driveway away from the garage.

Taking simple steps to catch potential drainage problems early can save homeowners a lot of time and money. So can talking to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to make sure your home has the coverage it needs for stormy days ahead.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

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