Drainage System Process

French Drain Vs. Surface Drain

A strong functioning drain is essential for all residential and commercial properties that have problems with rainwater. This prevents water from collecting around the base that can lead to gradual foundation damage. Not all drains, though, are created the same; various forms exist. Two of the common styles are French and surface drains. One may be more suitable than the other depending on the location and type of building. Here is a quick rundown:

  • Use a Surface Drain when you can focus all water to one location. A Surface Drain (area drain) only collects surface water.
  • Use a French Drain when unable to focus water (broad collection). A French Drain collects subterranean as well as surface water.

French Drain

French drains are located underground and designed to remove water that seeps below ground surface. There is an open pipe that is out of sight where water can drain before reaching deeper into the soil or collecting around the foundation.

A French drain usually consists of a perforated pipe installed inside a hollow trench that’s covered with gravel and other porous material.

Surface Drains

Surface drains, by contrast, are installed with the drain opening flush or below with the ground level. These drains rely on surface slope to encourage water into the basins.

Which Is Better?

The more suitable option for your home depends on several factors. Most properties in the Garland, TX, area can actually benefit from a French drain since soil conditions in the region are highly porous.

Surface drains are effective for quickly draining surface water in a short amount of time. They are best for homes located on a flat surface where insufficient sloping exists to draw the water away.

Often, we recommend a combo drainage system consisting of both drain styles. This removes the majority of surface water while also addressing any runoff that manages to seep into the soil.

In any case, both require careful installation to ensure the drains perform to standards. With French drains, for example, installers must take the slope of the soil into consideration as well as be mindful of possible root intrusions. Both French and surface drains must be made from high-quality materials. Ultimately, the French drain vs surface drain debate is a non-issue because both types of drains are effective for different home foundations.

We Install Both Drain Types

We provide drainage solutions as part of a foundation reinforcement process. Give Align Foundation Repair a call if you suspect your drain may not be performing to standards.

Align Foundation Repair Home Drainage Solutions

Signs of a Drainage Problem

Drainage problems are a serious issue that can have serious ramifications on the foundation if ignored. Of course, some signs of a drainage problem, such as pooling water, are obvious. However, other signs are less subtle and goes by unnoticed unless you actively look for them. Learn how to recognize these less-than-obvious signs of a compromised drainage on your property.

1. Overflowing Gutter

Gutters are designed to expel water, not hold onto it. If water remains on the gutter for prolonged periods, then there is an obstruction, likely inside the downspout. Make a habit to clear the gutters of leaves and debris after every heavy wind and rainfall. You should also conduct gutter inspections. Common damages include the joints coming apart or the gutter pulling away from the exterior wall.

2. Musty Odors

Don’t just use your eyes; use your nose as well. Even if you don’t detect visible traces of standing water, unpleasant odors may give away signs of water intrusion. If you smell a musty odor, then you likely have mildew or mold growth somewhere on the property. This means water is condensing in hard-to-reach areas, such as the crawlspace, inside the wall, or underneath the carpet. Aside from the smell, you may also spot condensation in areas like the window or roof.

3. Foundation Cracks

Cracks occur naturally as a house settles in place. A small crack is no cause for alarm. However, be on the lookout for larger fractures. Measure and keep track of cracks larger than the width of a standard pencil. If the cracks get bigger, then you have a problem. This is a sign that water is saturating the soil and causing shifts in the earth.

4. Bowing Floors

Examine the floor in your home. This includes the basement, garage, and first floor in the main living quarters. Does any part of the floor feel or appear uneven? You may notice one section has a “lump” or protrusion. If a tile or hardwood floor, some of the tiles or panels may separate from the floor.

We Provide Drainage Solutions

Water and all its incarnations (e.g. condensation, humidity) can be detrimental to a residential foundation. This is especially true in the Garland, TX area with its temperature and humidity fluctuations. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, give Align Foundation Repair a call. Early detection can prevent cost-prohibitive repairs.

French Drain Align Foundation Repair Garland

What Is a French Drain?

Managing water on your property is key to preserving your foundation, and keeping your grounds looking great. Whether you’re buying a new property, building a home for your family, or work professionally as a realtor, you may have heard the term “French drain” used to describe a certain type of drainage system. You may be wondering, what is a French drain and how does it work? Here’s the inside info on all things French drain-related from the experts at Align Foundation Repair.

How Does a French Drain Work?

A French drain uses a buried pipe to collect water and divert it to a place where it can be better absorbed into the ground. It is a specific style of yard drain that allows for broad collection of water. Relying on nothing but smart design and gravity, these drains feature a pipe with holes facing upwards. As the ground becomes saturated, water seeps in through the holes and collects in the pipe. At this point it can flow freely to lower ground. Align uses only PVC pipes for French drains, since they provide the best in both performance and durability. A smart, simple, and highly functional design that’s been in use for centuries all around the globe, it’s no wonder French drains are a popular water management solution throughout the American South.

How are French Drains Installed?

Installing a French drain is a fairly straightforward procedure. First a trench is dug from where unwanted water collects to where the property owner wants it diverted. This usually means digging a small trench from around foundation, driveway or lawn, to lower ground. Then a drainage pipe with openings cut along the top is installed. This pipe is often wrapped in a fiber cloth to prevent small debris from clogging the holes. Then the trench is lined with a combination of filler fabric and heavy mill plastic, and back-filled with gravel. In most cases, the gravel remains exposed to allow for both subterranean and surface collection.

Benefits of a French Drain

Installation of French drains not only provides relief from water building in the yard, but protects the house against the harmful effects water can have on foundations.

Water can damage foundations, cause mold problems in a crawlspace, or make outdoor areas muddy and unusable. A French drain is a great, low maintenance solution to this problem. Once installed, they need minimal upkeep. However, should your drain become even partially clogged, it’s effectiveness could be majorly diminished. Align Foundation Repair offers extensive drainage repair services that can help your French drain function like new. Speak with a professional today, and make sure your property stays dry and mold-free.

ceilings and Floors,fungus mold weathered wall

Unseen Effects of Water Damage on Your Foundation

Whether from a leaky pipe or heavy rainfall, the after-effects of water damage are obvious. This includes the soaked carpet, rotted wood frames, etc. However, the unseen effects of water damage on foundations are just as detrimental to the property’s structure. In fact, it’s even worse because damage is not readily apparent and easily glossed over by homeowners. Know what to look for to determine the totality of damages.

Everyone sees wet carpet, warped wood floors and sheet rock/base board damage. What they do not see can be more detrimental.

Water that seeps into the house during rainfall can cause the following: 

  • Wood rot in your framing
  • Deterioration of the concrete your foundation is made of
  • Premature brick deterioration
  • Soil swelling causing a rise in your foundation
  • Excessive foundation movement resulting in home damage

Concrete Damage

Homeowners often don’t think about the consequences water has on concrete. They forget that, like wood, concrete is also porous. Water can seep into the cracks. Once H2O finds these openings, they can eventually reach other foundational structures underneath, such as the steel reinforcements. In addition, the moisture inside the concrete can also rise back up and reach the area above, such as the carpet and tiles. This can lead to the floors peeling and warping.

Electrical Damage

Your appliances and everything else running on electricity are also at risk. This also presents a safety risk especially if pooling water is present. Do not get near areas where standing water surrounds an appliance or electrical outlet. Leave inspections to a professional; this is a serious electrical hazard.

Floorboards

Carpet damage is more obvious; floorboard damage is less so. However, underlying damage is very possible, though not immediately noticeable. Accumulating moisture underneath the boards can lead to warping. Any present sealant or grout may incur damage as well.

Most floorboard types are susceptible to water damage. This includes those many homeowners may believe to be waterproof, such as stone and laminate floor panels.

Insulation

The insulation is another overlooked component since it’s not upfront and readily visible. Water can drastically reduce an insulation’s R-value, especially if it’s made from foam and other fibrous material. Due to insulation’s tendency to hold and store water, damage is highly likely. You can’t merely restore the insulation by turning on the fan and letting it dry out. Replacement is highly likely.

We Stop the Effects of Water Damage on Foundation

Unfortunately, flooding is not an uncommon occurrence in homes around the Garland, TX, area. Homeowners need to actively scan for visible signs of damage. In addition, they should also contact Align Foundation Repair. Our industry experts can scan for the unseen effects of water damage on a foundation. If the damage goes unnoticed, homeowners can expect costly repairs years down the line.

water drain

How to Maintain Your Catch Basin

Catch basins are often an afterthought for many homeowners. However, the catch basin plays a vital role during storms and heavy rainfalls, preventing flooding and capturing debris. Neglected catch basins can lead to flooding, which can negatively impact your home’s foundation. For this reason, we recommend that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area clean out their catch basins on a regular basis.

Catch Basin Cleaning

Area drains and catch basins are designed to accept a certain amount of debris along with the water. The debris drops to the bottom and the water level rises and enters the exit tube. If they are not cleaned regularly, they will eventually fill with debris and clog the line. It is a good idea to pop the lids and scoop out the debris as often as once a month.  After cleaning the debris, you can wash the basins out with water and fill them to test that they are flowing water properly.

Catch basins collect rain and storm water and release the debris buildup into the municipal sewer system. Basins are placed in areas prone to collecting standing water. This prevents flooding that may affect soil conditions. Water absorption causes the soil to expand and contract, in turn causing home foundations to shift. Flooding is one of the primary reasons foundation repairs are needed in the first place.

This is precisely why catch basin cleaning is crucial. If too many solids accumulate, the water draining tube becomes blocked.

Catch Basin Drainage Repair

Catch basins should be cleaned when the interior is filled one-third of the way with solid debris. For some areas, the maintenance may be as often as once a month. If you notice water overflow, nearby pest infestation, or an excessively damp yard, then the basin may require a professional drainage system repair. Depending on the foundation, soil type, and current condition of the basin, this may include additional solutions, such as:

  • Gravel-heavy trenches to redirect the water
  • A sump pump installation
  • Soil contouring for better water flow

Don’t wait until a backup occurs to call in a drainage repair expert. Taking preventative steps to improve your drainage system before a problem arises not only saves you money, but helps promote the long-term health of your home foundation, while also reducing environmental risks.

Catch Basin Maintenance for Property Owners

There are steps you can take on your end to keep the basin in good operating order. This doesn’t eliminate the need for professional cleaning, but it does keep the basin in acceptable condition in between servicing.

While basins can accommodate some level of debris, never actively dump trash inside. This includes all waste products, such as pet waste, cooking oil, or grease. Such garbage will not make its way to the treatment facility and may instead end up in nearby lakes and rivers.

You should also regularly check the grate to be sure there are no obstructions that may prevent the unit from accepting water. About once a month, you should check how full the basin is with debris. A simple visual check may not be possible due to the grate being in the way. A solution around this is to stick a broom into the opening and see how deep it’s able to go down.

Catch basin maintenance is part of being a responsible property owner. Foundational repairs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area may also include drainage solutions to improve the basin’s efficiency. Contact Align Foundation Repair to determine if your property can benefit from drainage repairs or installations.

Landscaping and Foundation Repair

7 Landscaping Tips That Will Protect Your Foundation

Come spring, homeowners’ attention naturally turns to landscaping. While plants and trees can improve the appearance, value, and appeal of your home, if done properly with some foresight, landscaping around your house foundation can actually protect your investment.

The pros at Align Foundation Repair recommend that before you head to the nursery or home improvement store, you should consider the following tips first. This will ensure that your design will not lead to unwanted foundation damage, which could lead to costly repair.

Checklist for Landscaping Around House Foundations

Here are seven tips for proper landscaping around foundations:

  1. Plant trees away from the foundation. The root systems of trees can be as large as the branch systems above the ground and can grow under your foundation, causing damage and bringing unwanted moisture seeking roots.
  2. Make sure you leave some of the foundation exposed. It may be unsightly, but it’s important to leave a few inches visible so you can inspect it regularly and make sure that it’s not buried in moisture.
  3. Watch out for drains or outlets. If there is a drain in your yard, it’s there for a good reason. Covering it with plants can restrict drainage which contributes to foundation damage.
  4. Improve your gutter system. Use gutter extensions to push water at least five feet away from your foundation. Underground downspouts can be installed to carry water further out. Gutters should be cleared of dirt and leaves; clogged gutters lead to excess water, overflow, and pooling water. Also, check for any holes, gap, or leaks while cleaning your gutters.
  5. Mulch your flower beds. Mulch retains moisture and will be beneficial to your plants and your foundation in the summer months by preventing the soil around your property from becoming too dry. Exceedingly dry soil can harm your foundation by causing movement.
  6. Make sure flower beds slope away from your foundation. It is critical to check the grade on your Dallas, Fort Worth property and landscaping to make sure water can’t pool around your house. We recommend having a 9-10” drop for the first ten feet around your home to keep moisture from accumulating under your foundation (a slope about 3-5% away from your foundation). Without a proper slope, your foundation can experience erosion.
  7. Water evenly in non-landscape areas. If only one section of the yard is landscaped, the soil on that side will expand because it’s likely to be watered more often. Soil expansion can lead to foundation cracks so it’s best to water your property uniformly. The expansive clay soil in the Dallas, Fort Worth area affects landscaping and you should protect your foundation from issues like increases in moisture or too little water. Use deep-rooted plants; shallow-rooted plants could erode over a short period of time.

Talk to the Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Choose Dallas foundation repair experts you can trust. If you would like more tips for landscaping around house foundations in Dallas, or you’re concerned that your foundation may be damaged, call Align Foundation Repair today.  We can schedule a free inspection and give you even more advice on landscaping, maintenance, and foundation repair in Dallas-Fort Worth.