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Poor Water Drainage

It’s an old industry adage that warns: “A lot of water in short period of time can cause major damage and a little water over a long period of time can cause major damage.”  Amateur solutions to complex drainage problems often result in poor guesswork with no assurance that the money and effort invested will produce desired results. Causes and cures for excessive ground water conditions can be perplexing, even challenging the most knowledgeable of drainage professionals. Failure to properly diagnose and address such conditions can have significant long-term effects on the integrity of a home, including possible jeopardy to the foundation itself.

A nonprofessional’s recommendation, such as boring a drain hole in a foundation wall, may appear to resolve the problem but is actually little more than an uneducated guess. The problem with this approach is its reliance on the following poor assumptions that by simply draining a bore hole in the foundation:

  • All ground water in the sub-area will flow to that opening and that there are no other low areas where standing water could remain beneath the building
  • The water flow beneath the building has not caused soil erosion at the piers and foundations (ongoing erosion could lead to eventual undermining of the structure) — it is important to prevent further water intrusion and not merely to evacuate the surface water
  • There has been no moisture condensation on the wood framing. Condensation is a common cause of fungus and dry rot and can also lead to rust damage of structural hardware. If water damage is occurring, increased ventilation could be essential, and the addition of a plastic ground membrane may be an important consideration.

Sam Jabuka
President, Jabuka Home Inspections

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