Hints & HELP!
Drainage Problems Saves on Costly Repairs
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article appeared in the August 31,
2003 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.
odors, soil erosion, lingering damp spots and damage to
a home's foundation could create a homeowner's nightmare.
However, costly repairs for patio, pool and home foundation
damage caused by poor drainage can be prevented by surveying
the area around a home and making simple, inexpensive changes.
drainage allows moisture to leak through cracks, placing
intense water pressure on a foundation. It can amplify existing
cracks and cause new fractures. Poor drainage also can create
gullies in a yard as water drains from downspouts.
identifying causes of poor drainage can be difficult. Surface
runoff is the most common cause of drainage problems and
includes runoff from rain, sprinklers, supersaturated soil,
underground springs or a high water table. Runoff also carries
polluting materials toward a home or into streets, where
they creep into water supplies through gutters and storm
can be steady, seasonal or sporadic. Paved surfaces, bare
soil, slope of the yard, lack of vegetation, soil type and
house design could be helping water cause problems.
problems can be fixed easily and inexpensively:
Watch how quickly rainwater soaks into the ground. It
should not puddle or create runoff. Consider adding
dirt or improving clay or silt soil with organic matter.
Examine the yard's slope. It should drop six inches
in the first 10 feet from a structure and at least one
foot per 100 feet beyond that. The slope should be gentle
enough to allow gravity to move excess rain toward the
street while letting some water be absorbed into the
Watch for runoff from the street, other homes, hills,
patios and play areas. It should not drain toward a
home. A yard should effectively divert water at least
20 feet from the house.
If basement window wells collect water, install covers.
The fill soil next to the foundation should not sink
or settle, causing water to collect near the house.
Gutters should be free of debris, in good condition
and should slope toward a downspout. Downspouts should
carry water at least 10 feet from a home. A splash guard
might be needed where water exits to absorb forceful
energy used to create gullies in the yard.
A basement, even with a footing-level drain tile system,
should not remain damp or leak clear subsurface water.
your home and yard for potential problems and fix them before
they cause extra expense and work.
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