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The Home Depot

How to Prevent Drainage Problems

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > How to Prevent Drainage Problems
How to Prevent Drainage Problems

If you have existing drainage problems around your property, the issues may be just beginning. Unless you have a keen eye, it can be easy to miss drainage trouble, resulting in significant damage to your home from moisture seeping in through the foundation.


When water sits without draining properly, you may notice specific telltale signs around your property, according to the Kirkland, Washington, website. Sources of water could be rain, underground springs or even sprinklers.


Take the time to prevent drainage problems around your property to avoid unpleasant moisture complications in your home as well as damage to your foundation.

  1. If you have paved areas such as sidewalks, patios or driveways, make sure water does not run off these areas toward structures.

    1.Drainage Problem Issues

    Although the cause of drainage problems can be difficult to determine, you will definitely have clues when drainage issues exist in your landscape. Walk around your property to observe the situation. If you detect musty odors, damp spots that won’t go away, soil erosion in various locations and damage occurring to your foundation, you probably have drainage issues that require attention.


    When moisture leaks through cracks in your foundation, this water places significant pressure on the foundation. Over time, the pressure will make small cracks larger and new cracks will form. You may also notice deep depressions in your yard from downspouts draining and water standing for too long.

  2. 2.Landscape Features

    It’s possible that you have landscape features that cause drainage issues. Common features that may create drainage problems include bare soil without vegetation, a yard that slopes down toward your house, paved surfaces that direct runoff toward your house and even a heavy soil type that does not absorb moisture readily.

  4. 3.Drainage Problems and Solutions

    Basement window wells should not collect water. Cover window wells if you see water collecting.


    After it rains, survey your landscape to observe how the moisture absorbs into the soil. You should not see puddles or runoff occurring. If the soil does not absorb water, consider amending it with top soil or silt to lighten the density of the soil.


    Check the slope of your landscape to ensure it is correct. The ground surrounding every structure should slope downward 6 inches in the initial 10 feet and then another 12 inches for every 100 feet extending out. This slope is important for enabling water to run away from your house.


    Observe how water moves on your property in other areas also. If you have paved areas such as sidewalks, patios or driveways, make sure water does not run off these areas toward structures. Slopes and hills on your property should not deliver water within 20 feet of your home.


    Check downspouts to make sure they deliver water a minimum of 10 feet from the house. Perform routine maintenance at least twice a year to ensure gutters do not have clogs from debris.


    If water collects near your foundation, consider foundation drains to collect runoff. These drains sit open at soil level – often covered by a filter material to prevent clogs. The pipes collect the water and move it away from your home.


    Although drainage problems can be potentially serious, many of the solutions are not difficult or expensive. With minimal effort and time, you can remedy drainage issues and keep your home safe from water damage.

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