The 3 Types of Drainage Systems to Prevent Water Damage to your Home

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“What’s the most important thing to consider to prevent water damage to my home?”

Without a doubt: Keep Things Dry. Last post I discussed water intrusion into the “envelope” of your home and how to look for it. This time we’ll get into the 3 types of drainage systems for various “water loads” on a home.

  1. Roof Load. Water that lands on your roof needs to managed properly to prevent undermining your foundation, ending up underneath your house, or flowing and pooling in undesirable places.
  2. Surface Load. Water that flows on the ground during a rainstorm needs to be diverted away from the house or it can the undermine foundation or contribute significantly to retaining wall leaks, which can cause mold or humidity problems inside the home.
  3. Hydrostatic Load. Water that comes up from underneath the ground, especially during the rainy season must be considered. Many homes are built into hillsides and use concrete retaining walls as part of their foundation. Without a proper drainage system behind these walls, water will seep through the concrete into the interior space. If that space is habitable, it can be a significant problem. Water can also come up through cracks in the concrete slab floor, ruining floor finishes and causing mold issues.

Any house built today has engineered drainage systems in place to effectively handle all these loads, assuming proper installation. Older homes, however, were not built to today’s stringent code requirements and frequently have issues.

The good news? Often a single system (such as a French Drain) can be configured to handle all of these loads. Drainage solutions must take into account all three loads and the way they interact or combine to cause problems.

As with water intrusion, there are usually many solutions for remediation, and it’s important understand their costs and risks.

Got a question about your home? Here’s your chance to ask the “Design-Build Advisor!” Give us a call at 415-459-3349 or send your question to john@theperfectbuilder and we’ll answer either in this blog or by e-mail.

Click below for our informative series on Water Damage Investigation, Prevention and Repair.

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