Poor Drainage: A Leading Cause of Foundation Problems

November 03, 2017

improper drainage

There are lots of different reasons why foundation problems occur, but did you know that one of the leading causes is preventable? Improper drainage can cause foundation failure in both slab-on-grade and pier and beam/crawlspace foundations. If too much water accumulates near a home's foundation, the soil becomes saturated and expands, robbing the foundation of the stability it requires. This loss of stability can cause a slab foundation to shift or break. In addition, if water enters the crawlspace beneath your home, over time this may cause your cedar piers to rot or concrete Sonotube piers to sink and/or shift.

foundation pier damage
Cedar pier that has been comprimised by water intrusion under a home.

In this area, our soil is especially vulnerable to water because Austin soil is primarily clay, which swells greatly when exposed to water, then shrinks back as it dries. This creates a constant up and down movement which can damage your foundation. That’s why it’s critically important to take the necessary steps to limit and manage the amount of standing water and rain water around your home.

To ensure that your foundation is not getting oversaturated each time it rains, ensure that you:

proper slope for home in Texas

Create a Proper Slope: An elevated slope that leads water away from the foundation of your home is essential to maintaining a healthy foundation. The proper measurement of a slope is a six inch drop over a 10-foot distance.

Divert Water from Downspouts: Downspouts should divert rain water a minimum of five feet away from the home's foundation.

There are many different types of downspouts that will ensure that water flows away from your home. Whether you choose an economical option or an artistic one, ensure that the water is diverted at least five feet away from your foundation.

inexpensive downspout diverter
Inexpensive Downspout Diverter
downspout diverter to avoid foundation problems
Artistic Downspout Diverter
underground downspout to prevent foundation damage
Underground Downspout Diverter

You can’t control the type of soil that our house stands on, but you can control how the water in our environment interacts with our foundation. That’s why it’s vitally important to do what we can to ensure that our home’s foundation has a fighting chance against oversaturated soil and standing water. As a homeowner, the best steps you can take to ensure the health of your foundation is to create a proper slope around your foundation and ensure that rainwater is diverted at least five feet away.