Here in Orange County, NY we can experience some pretty harsh weather events throughout the year where in some cases leaving our homes and property in dire condition. New York is a true 4 season state that is exposed to all the elements in many different forms that Mother Nature throws our way. Heavy winter Nor'easters can dump substantial snows that are usually drawn out systems that can potentially last days. Clippers are normally a quick moving system with great potential for accumulating snow in a short period. After heavy winter snows come the torrential spring rains and possible thunderstorms that combine with the melting snow on the ground doubling the amount of water on your property. In the spring temperatures rise well above freezing and fall back down at night where you risk ice damming to occur on your roof. Ice damming is caused by the hot to cold melting/freezing cycle and if your ROOF doesn't have ice and water shield installed you can run the risk of water infiltration back into your home. Summers can be unpredictable in the northeast. Weather can be extremely dry or very wet and stormy. One thing to be sure of is the severe thunderstorms sometime accompanied with tornados that can form very quickly sometimes without little or no notice. Thunderstorms can produce heavy rainfall very quickly along with damaging hail and winds. Next into fall where we become exposed to the possible threats of hurricanes which can be devastating. Normally we don't experience the full Category 4-5 but even a Category 1 or tropical depression can dramatically affect our area. All of these potential systems that can occur year round can cause great damages. Water is one of Mothers Natures greatest forces responsible for billions, if not trillions of dollars in damages around the world.
Some homes and properties are more susceptible to water damage than others depending on location of property. By location that doesn't necessarily mean what town or city but moreless your geographics. If your home/property is low lying water is more likely to accumulate and infiltrate. A home/property on a higher elevation is more likely to shed waters away, that is unless you are situated in the middle of a hill where the grade is sloping towards your property where runoff becomes a concern. With any property perc needs to be taken into consideration. Perc is short for percolation and it's the amount of water your soil can handle and distribute water into the ground. Many areas on our area have clay and/or shale making water percolation almost impossible. Certain steps must be made when determining your water issues and what direction is needed when addressing causes and solutions.
5 Drainage solutions to help fix your wet property and basement:
- Footing Drains
- Curtain Drains
- Sump Pumps
- Gutter Downspouts Extended or Buried
Footing drains are required on all homes built around the country. Footing drains are installed around the entire perimeter of the foundation at the base of the footing and filled with an adequate amount of aggregate. This helps relieve water buildup also known as hydrostatic pressure and transport unwanted water away from your home and off property all together if possible. Hydrostatic pressure is the buildup of ground waters mostly and combined with runoff that can be catastrophic to the integrity of you foundation if not addressed. Pressure buildup can reach as high as 33,000 psi which is a tremendous amount of stress on your homes structure
Curtain drains are essentially in ground gutter systems excavated and put into place to remove unwanted water away from you home/property. Low lying areas of your property can cause accumulating water especially with geographics of sloping hills causing water runoff to run towards areas of your land and home. Excavating a trench with corrugated pipe and filling with aggregate, usually 3/4" gravel, is a perfect solution for moving excess water off of property.
As ground waters rise so does the hydrostatic pressure under your home and foundation. This pressure can be relieved by adding a sump pump in your basement floor on the interior of your home. As hydrostatic pressure increases water will usually go to the point of least resistance and by adding a sump pump and basin reduces the chances of water infiltration. When possible, using a laser level, install a sump pump and basin at the lowest point of your basement and discharge unwanted water outside away from the home. Another thing to keep in mind when installing a sump pump is adding a battery backup in the case of a power outage or purchasing a generator. Many times flooding will occur during a strong storm with water surges and power outages leaving pumps useless.
Swales are kind of in a sense like a curtain drain where it contains and relieves unwanted water on your property. Mostly is used for runoff water on a steep to flat grade to contain water before flooding your lawn/home. An excavated trench sloped at both sides kind is constructed, kind of like a moat you would see around castles in medieval times, just not that extensive or around your actual house but you can get the point. Swales can be left natural to grow swamp grass or filled with gravel and/or Riverstone. Swales are a great way to contain water around the perimeter of your property.
Gutters relieve all the water from your roof into one or two pipes on one individual gutter called downspouts. Per size of and any home, roof square footage can accumulate massive amounts of water at any given time in which is directed right into your gutter and removed away from the downspout. In many cases the downspout is relieved directly at ground level right next to the foundation. Large amounts of water can result in pooling water, water infiltration into your basement and home close to the ground possibility of causing rot to your homes wood structure. Adding downspout extensions above grade is fairly easy method to remove unwanted water away from your home quickly. Best way, if you have proper grade away from home to pitch water away, is to excavate a trench underground and install a 4" solid pipe out to daylight.
All of these systems, besides footing drains, may be necessary for you home/property. First step if you are dealing with water issues is to identify the source of water. Once you can narrow down the source then you can determine which system or systems you made need. In rare cases you may need all components but a professional in the field can help you determine that. Footing drains are the most important component as failing footing drains can cause extensive structural damages and water infiltration can also become a culprit for fast growing toxic mold and mildew creating unsafe living conditions and health ailments. Installing new footing drains requires excavation down to the footings and complete replacement of failed lines. If you are going through having to install new footing drains, you may want to consider installing an EGRESS WINDOW while foundation walls are exposed. An egress window is a national code for any finished basement with a bedroom as an emergency exit and also great for more light and ventilation for any basement considering basements are are naturally dark, gloomy and moist.