Finding drainage problems when they’re smaller and easier to fix can save you thousands of dollars and plenty of headaches down the line.
You don’t have to be a geophysicist to know that puddles in the basement or a lake on the front lawn are signs of drainage problems.?But many drainage problems aren’t so obvious. Here’s how the pros atHouselogic read some of the more subtle signs of bad drainage, and why you’ll save big bucks if you tackle these problems now instead of later.
Best case:?Leaves are clogging the downspout, and you just need to clear them out or hire a pro to do it (about $75).
Worst case:?Gutters are undersized or improperly pitched and need to be replaced or reinstalled. That could run a few thousand dollars, but it’s still cheaper than new siding.
Best case:?You can add gutter extensions (about $10 for a 10-foot length) to carry the water at least 5 feet away from the house.
Worst case:?Too-short downspouts continually dump buckets of water around your foundation. The water seeps deep into the soil and puts pressure on your foundation walls, eventually cracking them. A foundation contractor comes out and gives you an estimate of $30,000 to excavate around your?foundation?and fix everything. You begin to cry, dumping buckets of water into the soil around your foundation.
Best case:?You see stains high on your foundation wall, meaning that water is coming from an overflowing gutter, or that surface runoff backed up against your house because the soil around your foundation doesn’t slope adequately (6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet is best).
Worst case:?The stain extends in a line around the basement. If that’s the case, you may be looking at a high-water mark caused by a fluctuating water table. Or, your basement floor lies below the level of municipal storm drains that back up during heavy rains. In either case, an interior drain system and sump pump?(around $3,000) will pump any seepage out of our basement, keeping your old bowling trophies dry.
Best case:?A crack appears where the builders finished installing one load of concrete and began pouring the next. Such cracks usually don’t penetrate all the way through. And even if they do, as long as they’re stable you can patch them with hydraulic cement or polyurethane caulk for less than $20.
Worst case:?Cracks are continuing to widen, indicating that a?drainage problem?may be ruining the foundation. Call a structural engineer (not a contractor or waterproofing expert) to diagnose the problem, assess the risk, and suggest a repair. Expect to shell out $300 for a structural engineer’s diagnosis.
Best case:?The efflorescence points to a place where moisture is condensing. It doesn’t cause structural problems, but you may want to check out your gutters, downspouts, and the grading of the soils around your foundation. Scrape off the crust if it looks ugly.
Worst case:?The wall is spalling because water is getting inside the masonry. Spalling can be just superficial, but if it’s deeper than ?-inch and widespread, it may be a sign of improper drainage that threatens the integrity of your foundation.
Best case:?Bathroom fans are spewing hot air directly into the attic, where it condenses on the cold back side of the roof and causes mildew. Venting the fan through an outside wall or the roof (about $200) solves the problem.
Worst case:?Moisture from the basement or crawl space is rising through the house and condensing on the underside of the roof. In that case, you’ve got to find and stop the source of the dampness under the house. If you don’t act, you’ll end up replacing roof sheathing and shingles, a job that runs $6,000 to $9,000 for the typical house.
Best case:?For a few hundred dollars, you can hire a landscaper to create a simple berm (a soil mound) or swale (a wide, shallow ditch) to redirect the water flow away from the house.
Worst case:?Your concrete patio cracks and paving stones start popping up because the gravel or sand base material has washed away. After redirecting the water, you’ll need to excavate the patio and start again.
Special thanks to?Jeanne Huber?,author of 10 books about home improvement. She writes a weekly column about home care for the Washington Post. ?Read more:?http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/drainage/drainage-problem-signs/#ixzz2jOY47Yl6