Robert W. "Bob" Jensen, P.E.
bjensen@jensenengineers.com

Michael S. Jensen, P.E.
mjensen@jensenengineers.com

972-994-9872
972-994-0747
972-692-5713 fax

DRAINAGE PROBLEMS

See also: Plumbing Problems, Trees - Lethal Weapons and Foundation Movement

Drainage problems occur at all types of properties, new and old.  Amazingly, we are regularly called out to examine drainage issues at as many new homes as with older properties.  Drainage considerations seem to be an afterthought with many builders, the details of which may be implemented by non-qualified individuals in the final grading process.  Many homeowners become frustrated when finding their builder cannot assist with correcting improper drainage conditions.   Also see Soil Moisture Maintenance Tips

If water collects near the foundation perimeter, nearby supporting soils can gain moisture and heave the foundation.  When drainage problems occur, it is important to understand why this is happening so an appropriate drainage control system can be designed.   Groundwater problems are typically addressed with a subsurface (French) drain, while a surface problem requires regrading, or construction of a swale or surface drainage system.  The misuse of drainage systems can be detrimental to the foundation, so proper source diagnosis is extremely important.   

Gutters are always a good addition for controlling roof discharge.  Downspouts should extend away from the foundation and outside planter bed edgings, discharging onto a splash block or other hard surface to limit erosion and ponding at the foundation edge.   
 

Homes built from 1995 through 2001 have high to very high potential for heaving conditions due to being built over abnormally dry soils.  Our inspections reveal that as these soils gained moisture from roof runoff and yard watering, volumetric soil expansion occurred which resulted in upheaval under many structures.  In some instances upheaval can be reversed (see case studies), but is many times not feasible due to cost or other considerations.
 

  Poor drainage between drive and foundation 


With pier and beam foundations moisture can pose severe problems in the crawlspace, leading to infestation of wood-destroying insects or other, cupped hardwoods, wood decay, growth of fungal organisms and a deterioration in air quality.  Again, it is extremely important to properly diagnose the source of this moisture so that proper remediation can proceed. 
 

Jensen Engineers can design the most appropriate drainage control system to address your needs.