Foundation repair isn’t always about lifting and stabilizing a house with piers. If a foundation is experiencing heaving or is being lifted, you can’t lower it by installing a pier. The only way a house can lift up is if there is too much water in the soil around the part that is lifting. Water causing soil to expand and therefore can lift the house. Some signs that you have poor drainage are as follows:
- Areas that remain wet well after other areas dry out
- Ponding water that can’t discharge away from the house
- Erosion associated with water flowing, normally around a downspout
If you have one of these occurring and you have the typical foundation cracks, it’s possible that you need to fix your drainage in order to fix your foundation.
Use the right drain for the job
Once the problem is identified, it’s important to determine the best type of drainage that will accommodate the amount of water that needs to be dispersed or where that water is coming from. For instance if water is pooling next to a downspout, we can reasonably assume that the water is coming from the downspout. If water is getting under the house, we need to use a french drain to collect the water and not an area drain. Below you will find the 3 main types of drains that can be installed to protect your foundation.
A French drain collects water along the entire area in which it is installed. A French drain is a trench filled with gravel or rock, or containing a perforated pipe that redirects surface water and groundwater away from an area. A French drain can have perforated hollow pipes along the bottom to quickly vent water that seeps down through the upper gravel or rock. French drains are primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations.
An area drain is different from a French drain in that it only collects water in selected areas designated by the installation of catch basins. Typically these basins are installed every 10-15 feet apart down the affected area. This type of drain is generally installed when water saturation is limited to specific locations. Solid drainage pipe is used in the installation of area drains to discharge away from the area of saturation.
A downspout extension prevents the erosion that occurs from the heavy flow of water out of a downspout. These can be installed above or below ground. While above ground is cheaper, when installed below they can extended all the way to the street or far away from the property to prevent the damage that inconsistent water flow can cause.