Drainage Solutions and Tips

As seen in the New York Real Estate Journal – 4.23.13

Landscape Drainage Solutions

Identify and address your property’s drainage problems

As property owners in the Northeast can attest, weather changes and severe weather can wreak havoc on drainage systems, driveways and landscaping. Designing a custom drainage system unique to your property will pay for itself time and time again. Well maintained driveways, sound foundations, properly irrigated landscaping, and dry basements less likely to have mold, mildew, pests and poor air quality.

Below are three steps to help you (1) better understand your property’s current drainage system; (2) identify any existing water drainage issues; and (3) review common drainage solutions.

Understanding Your Current Drainage System

First and foremost, know your property’s current drainage system. Create a detailed map of your property and identify all impervious surfaces and current draining features. Contact your local town or city for a map of their storm water drainage system to better understand how your property is linked to the municipality’s system. Learn more about the location of your home or business and how that may affect how your property handles water. Are certain traits common to your area, such as: a high water table, bedrock, sandy soils, heavy clay soils or flat land? And how will those affect how your property handles water?

Identifying Existing Drainage Issues

Next, wait for heavy rains and get outside to walk the property during or shortly after rainfall. Make note of the following:

  • Standing water near foundation, outdoor structures or retaining walls
  • Water pooling in or around landscaping/gardens
  • Flooding or pooling near driveways or parking areas or garages
  • Water entering the basement

Long -Term Drainage Solutions

Now that you have a clear understanding of the draining issues unique to your property, review some of the most common solutions to eliminate or reduce unwanted water.

Solution #I -Interior and Exterior Footing Drains

Does excess water pool around your foundation? Footing drains – also known as French drains – divert water away from the building. Drainpipes surrounded by gravel are installed to disperse the water and allow adequate time for water to percolate down through the soil.

Solution #2 – Curtain Drains

Does water pool in areas around your property, driveway or retaining walls? A curtain drain is an under­ground gutter system – that works in conjunction with a footing drain – to remove unwanted water away from the property.

Solution #3 – Drywells

Are there areas of the property unable to be linked with a storm water drainage system? Drywells are a possible option in such a case. Drywells are filled with gravel and surrounded by filter fabric and collects the unwanted water and infiltrates into the ground.

Solution #4 – Catch Basins

Do your drain pipes clog –or your existing catch basins overflow? Catch basins are concrete metal grates atop concrete structures and capture debris that could otherwise clog pipes in a storm drain system. Catch basins should be cleaned regularly – espe­cially after heavy storms – and the collected leaves and debris removed.

Solution #5 – Driveway Drainage Systems

Does your driveway flood regularly – or does the driveway direct water toward the structure? Regular flooding of a driveway will eventually wear the base material and cause the driveway to shift or become unstable. A driveway drainage system can be installed to ensure water is brought away from the structure and property.

Solution #6 – Erosion Control and Retaining Walls

Does your property have steep slopes? Is soil erosion an issue? Retaining walls are a great method to addressing soil erosion on a steeply sloped property. They also help to create flat, usable outdoor spaces. Low retaining walls can also be built on mildly sloped property and can be used as garden spaces. Since retaining walls are impervious, it is critical that they are designed with effective drainage systems.

Solution #7 – Basement Waterproofing

Is your property built at or below ground level – or does your area have a high water table? All of these can lead to water in the basement that can sometimes cause significant damage to the structure’s foundation. There are techniques that can be use to waterproof the basement and prevent water from entering the building, including: interior wall and floor sealers, interior and exterior drainage and waterproofing coatings.

Protect Your Property

Water damage is a major contributor to loss of property each year. Before investing large amounts in landscaping or conducting major developments to your residential or commercial property, be sure to research your current drainage systems and make any necessary improvements.

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