Due to the amount of rain we get in Seattle, homeowners are understandably concerned about preventing water damage to their homes. Water can easily sneak through openings in the foundation and crawl spaces, leaving water stains, mold, and damaged walls and floors behind.
There are two main places where this water enters: your driveway and your yard. Water can destroy both of these areas. It can also seep through from these areas to damage the structure of your home.
You can prevent water from destroying your driveway and yard—and your home—by following these tips.
1. Request Driveway Repairs
When they installed your driveway, construction workers should have added sealcoating to the asphalt surface. This coating protects water from seeping through and eroding your driveway. If your driveway has cracks, potholes, or other types of damage, you may need new sealcoating.
Before applying new sealcoating, though, professionals should repair the cracks and potholes. Otherwise, water can continue to cause damage to your driveway.
2. Adjust the Slope
Do your driveway and lawn slope toward your home? If so, water probably runs down them towards your home. You may want to consider getting your landscaping rebuilt to promote better drainage. Landscaping professionals can rebuild the driveway and yard so it slopes away from your home. To prevent standing water, they can fill in various depressions in your lawn with topsoil.
3. Improve the Soil
The type of soil you use can also affect your yard’s drainage. You might see drainage trouble if your soil is too shallow, compacted, or high in clay. Ask landscaping professionals about how to best improve the soil quality in your yard. If the soil is too compacted, try aerating your lawn twice a year. Aerating creates holes in the soil so water can soak in. Adding mulch will also help you loosen the clay in your soil.
4. Avoid Over-Watering
Watering your lawn may be crucial to its survival. But if you water for so long that the water starts to run down your driveway and into your street, you’re watering too much. Not only is this unnecessary, but it can also cause drainage problems that lead to water damage.
Experts recommend that you water your lawn no more than two or three times a week. This promotes a stronger root system in your lawn. You can check whether you’re giving your lawn enough water by pushing a screwdriver into your lawn. If you can’t push it in, you’re not watering enough. You can make sure you only water your lawn a little by setting your hose or sprinkler on a timer.
5. Wash the Car Elsewhere
If you wash your car in the driveway, notice which way the water flows. If water is flowing toward your home, it’s best to avoid washing your car in the driveway. Washing your car in the driveway is a bad idea for other reasons as well. No matter which way the water flows, chemicals in the soap can flow into storm drains, harming fish and other wildlife.
It’s best to wash your car on grass or gravel instead. Or, use a commercial car wash that recycles the water.
6. Inspect Gutters and Downspouts
After you’ve addressed the slope of your driveway, look closely at your gutters and downspouts. Watch what happens after it rains. Does the water flow out of the downspouts, down your driveway, and away from your home? Or does it stop near your home or driveway or even flow toward your home? Your gutters should carry water at least 10 feet from your home, or better yet, they should connect the water directly to the municipal storm water system.
If your gutters and downspouts are not properly configured, water could get trapped near your home. This water can cause serious water damage to your home’s foundation and walls. Have a roofing professional repair or reconfigure your gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage to your home. Remember that you should clean your gutters every year to prevent damage.
7. Install a Drainage System
The most important of all these steps is to install a new drainage system in your driveway— if you already have an old system, it could be rusted, broken, or clogged, which makes it useless.
Try removing the debris and cleaning it, but if that doesn’t do the trick, call for help.
Professionals will install a long strip drain, also called a trench drain, at the top of your driveway. Alternatively, French drains installed in your driveway or your yard can remove water during rainy seasons when the ground is oversaturated. Water will enter your drain, where it should move to a lower point away from your home. Ask about a catch basin as well. A catch basin can trap debris so it doesn’t back up the drains or enter the local water source.
If the slope of your driveway does not allow water to move away from your home, you may need to redo your landscape. A professional can make your driveway and yard slope away from your house, helping the water drain. Alternatively, you may require a sump pump. A sump pump is a device that manually removes water and directs it away from your home.
Another way to deal with the problem is a yard drainage system. Professionals dig a trench and install a drainage pipe below the soil. They also place rock near the pipe, which allows water to flow freely. Yet another solution is a footing drain. These drains are placed near your home’s foundation to re-route water from the crawl space, foundation wall, or basement. You can also have drainage systems installed in your basement or crawl space to direct water away from these areas.
Don’t let your yard and driveway sustain water damage. To learn about specific drainage solutions that can protect your home, talk to the waterproofing specialists at Perma-Dry Waterproofing & Drainage, Inc.