Have you ever looked into your backyard after a particularly hard rainstorm to find that suddenly you’ve acquired an in-ground pool? If that sounds familiar, you need to take a look at some better drainage solutions for your yard. Poor yard drainage and excess moisture can lead to problems in your home – such as moldy or mildewed crawl spaces, damaged walls, and even cracked foundations.
Even crawl spaces with proper insulation and vapor barriers can be impacted by excess water in your yard. Although these preventative measures can keep mold from growing or water damage from occurring, standing water or excessive dampness can greatly hamper the effectiveness of both methods.
If you are dealing with poor drainage in your yard, there are numerous options available to fix the underlying issue and ensure that your yard, crawl space, and home stay high and dry!
Causes of Standing Water in Your Yard
Water trickling down the walls of your basement or crawl space can damage an area that might otherwise be protected. Vapor barriers are intended to keep water from seeping up through the floor, not running down the walls. Much like with a flood, vapor barriers can only do so much before they are overwhelmed by water. The best way to make sure your insulation and vapor barriers do their job is by preventing too much water from flooding the space.
Improving drainage in your yard can be done in a few ways, depending on the severity and cause of the situation. Here are a few tips and options to consider:
Determine the Underlying Cause
Is the water runoff from other areas, like your driveway or the road? Is it from water pooling in lower areas of your yard? Does it seem to be surface wetness, or could your soil type be causing problems? Do you live in a swampy area that has been reclaimed for housing? Any of these could be causing poor yard drainage, and require different solutions.
Check the Easy Fixes First
If you’ve noticed water pooling near your house after rain, check your downspouts. Are there clogs that are preventing your yard from draining properly? Alternatively, do you need to redirect or extend your downspouts to get the water further away from your home’s walls? If you see that the water is primarily from runoff, you will need to divert the water using a drainage system.
Investigate Landscaping Causes
If you have recently added or redone landscaping in your yard, that may be causing the issue. Water follows gravity, so ensure that the topography of your yard is constructed so that water is directed away from your home.
Soil that is heavy with clay is less permeable, meaning that water won’t soak into it as easily. The same goes for ground that is full of roots, whether from trees, shrubs or grass.
Eliminating Standing Water
Once you've investigated the cause of your poor yard drainage, you are ready to fix the problem. Here are a few solutions:
Underground Drain Pipe
Installation of an underground drain pipe may work for diverting runoff water away from your yard, especially from places like your driveway and the road. It allows you to direct the water, perhaps even to a garden or a pond if you have one.
Purchase Wet Plants
If your area is just a swampy, wet area, you may not be able to resolve the drainage issue. If this is the case, one way to mitigate the problem is by planting various plants that thrive in a wet environment and absorb more of the water. This can also prevent problems caused by root rot in plants that are not accustomed to wet soil. The biggest downside to this is that it is not an immediate solution – it will take time.
This is a more involved solution, but it is extremely effective in preventing water from getting to your home or crawl space. Installing a French curtain drain – a gravel-filled trench with a buried perforated pipe – around your home can really help prevent water damage. This disperses the water and moisture into the gravel base and away from your home. Drain pipes can also be integrated into this system, emptying their runoff water into the French drain. Read more about French drains and how to install them here.
Handling a standing water in your crawl space can be a tremendous ordeal. Thankfully, we’re here to help you. Clean Crawls has several companies who we trust and use to get standing water out of your crawl space, and to dry it out. Often the cause of water in your crawl space is poor drainage and we also know an awesome company for that. Following a thorough cleanup of the space, we start by repairing cracks in the walls, corners, or foundation, laying a new vapor barrier, replacing damaged insulation with new insulation, and checking for sound beams and foundation.
If you have concerns about your vapor barrier or insulation, or if you need an expert eye to see if your crawl space has been damaged by standing water, contact Clean Crawls today. You can also check out our resources page for more excellent information about taking care of your home and preventing mold damage.