Some of these deficiencies can be corrected at a low cost, while others are too costly to change but can still be dealt with in different ways. For example, a home that is built on a low lot needs to be monitored and regularly maintained to prevent long term damage due to water.
Poor drainage can cause a multitude of problems; some can even cause health problems related to the build up of mold.
Wet soil in crawl spaces creates humid conditions for mold to thrive. Along with proper drainage, the use of a vapor barrier and open vents will help keep the crawl space dry and deter the growth of mold.
Basements are also a common place to experience moisture problems, even with proper drainage. The best preventative in this situation is regular cleaning and a dehumidifier.
One of the most common mistakes is adding soil around the foundation at levels high enough to come in contact with the wood on the house. This can cause rot and insect infestation.
Another common problem exists because, when soil is excavated to construct a foundation, the soil that is removed usually extends three to five feet wider than the foundation. After the foundation is built, the remaining void needs to be backfilled. Ideally the backfill soil should be compacted to prevent settlement.
The replaced soil is not going to be compacted as well as it was before it was disturbed, and it will settle. This will form a depression that will collect water in the worst place, against the foundation. If this foundation is a basement, that scenario can cause very costly problems. Extreme cases of water and soil pressure (hydrostatic pressure) can result in the collapsing of the basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure is irreversible, and once it starts, if not corrected will result in very costly repairs. Early detection and preventive maintenance is your best defense in the battle with poor drainage.
Proper drainage should lead water away from the sidewalls and the foundation of the house. Here are some tips to help you accomplish this:
Remember that awareness of proper drainage and preventive maintenance will help keep your wallet high and dry from the flood of costly repairs.