French Drain System

French Drains: PVC vs Corrugated Pipes

More homeowners in the North Texas region are investing in French drain installation to protect their foundation from the effects of ponding water. While an effective solution, not all French drains are created equal, many homeowners find themselves asking about French Drains: corrugated vs pvc. Depending on the material and craftsmanship, some drains are prone to backups and accelerated wear. This is why pipe quality matters.

While landscapers use “non-rigid corrugated NDS pipes,” we use drainage grade PVC pipe because it is more durable and longer-lasting, especially when buried under heavy materials like soil. The corrugated pipe is cheaper but not nearly as strong. The choice is clear when considering pvc vs corrugated pipe for a french drain.  At your free drainage evaluation, a technician from Align Foundation Repair can demonstrate how easily the corrugated pipe bends under pressure when compared with PVC pipe.

PVC and Corrugated Pipes at a Glance

French, channel, and surface drains typically consist of one of two materials: polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or corrugated pipes. Know which material is being used when having a drain installed on your property. We will state unequivocally right now that PVC is the far more durable material. We highly recommend it comparing corrugated or pvc for french drains. Our stance is based on years of industry expertise. We have seen how these two materials hold up under prolonged exposure to the ever-shifting North Texas weather.

The Downside of Corrugated Pipes

Many contractors still use corrugated pipes. The material is cheaper, so homeowners save money in the initial installation. The issue with corrugated pipes is that it’s made of plastic. This is beneficial in one sense because the softer material makes it easier for producing joints, bends, and crests.

The problem is that these pipes are notoriously difficult to clean if a backup occurs. You cannot simply use an auger or plumbing snake to clear the debris because the rotating brush can easily tear through the thin plastic pipe.

PVC Pipes Provide Long-Lasting Durability

A PVC drainage pipe solves the main issue associated with corrugated pipes. PVC is a rigid structure made from synthetic plastic polymer. It will not rupture if exposed to a commercial-strength roto-rooter-type snake. This makes regular maintenance far simpler and more importantly, doable.

Furthermore, the pipe’s smooth interior surface reduces fluid friction and resistance to flow. This offsets sludge and slime build-up and reduces encrustation and tuberculation.

Contractors also prefer to work with a PVC French drain pipe. Despite its tough surface, it can easily be cut with a conventional handsaw. It’s also easier to set the pipes at the proper slope and keep it in place.

We Install High-Quality French Drains

The weather and soil conditions in the Northern Texas region make water too much of a risk factor for residential foundations. This is why French drains are an integral element for foundation longevity. While corrugated pipes have their place in some applications, PVC is the sound solution for a French pipe installation. At Align Foundation Repair, this is our go-to material for underground drainage systems.

Give us a call today for French drain PVC pipe repair and other services.

How Expansive Clay Soil Affects Your Foundation

It may not be the first thing you think about as a homeowner, but understanding the type of soil your home is built on can help you protect it from foundation damage. If your house is built on soil notorious for causing foundation issues, such as expansive clay soil, you can be proactive in addressing potential issues before they cause additional, costlier problems.

What is expansive soil?

Expansive clay soil contains high contents of absorbent clay, meaning it swells when wet. This swelling results in pressure that can be enough to crack your foundation walls and floor slabs, resulting in foundation movement that can cause damage to the stability of your home.

Clay soil can expand up to 10 percent in size if it experiences prolonged exposure to moisture.

In addition to the swelling, expansive soil can also shrink when it dries out. This constant change can lead to ongoing issues for your home, putting additional stress on your concrete foundation.

What to look out for with soil expansion and shrinkage

The most common signs that can indicate expansive clay soil is causing issues with your property include:

  • Signs of cracking in your concrete foundation
  • Doors or windows that are sticking
  • Cracking in your plaster wall
  • Cracks affecting your driveway or garage
  • Cracking or separating on brick veneer surfaces of your home

How can you help to reduce the damage to your home?

Expansive soils cause the greatest damage when significant or repeated moisture content changes occur. Therefore, maintaining a constant moisture level can be one of the best ways to help reduce damage to your foundation. You can do this by watering the soil regularly. Keeping the moisture levels consistent helps ensure the ground doesn’t become extremely wet or extremely dry, helping to reduce any impact it has on the foundation.

It’s also a good idea to seek advice from foundation repair experts who can advise whether there are other strategies to consider for your home, such as a new water drainage system. If you already have a drainage system, it can be worth checking to make sure it’s working properly, as well as contacting Align Foundation Repair about installing a new drainage system if you’re experiencing issues. If you’re building a new property, it can be worth investigating the options for creating a sloping site to help with water runoff if you experience a lot of rain where you live.

At Align Foundation Repair, we offer a free inspection to understand your property and make the best recommendations for your home’s foundation.

Want to find out more?

Depending on the weather in your area, you may experience minimal problems with expansive clay, or it could end up causing you a lot of headaches. Taking good care of your home’s structure by watching for signs of foundation issues and seeking advice from professionals at Align Foundation Repair can help you catch and repair problems early on.

Our expert team can spot foundation problems and recommend the right solutions for your home. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free estimate.

Drainage System Process

How Poor Drainage Causes Foundation Problems

Water is one of the greatest detriments to a foundation. Even the most sturdy and modern foundation system will fall far short of its lifespan if it’s exposed to an onslaught of pooling water. This is why homes have gutters and downspouts. Many homeowners don’t believe a seemingly benign puddle can cause foundational damage. This post is intended to convince them otherwise.

The Implications of Poor Drainage Around a House

How exactly does water damage a foundation? Water that is allowed to remain in a single place for prolonged periods produces the ideal growing conditions for mold and fungus. This is especially the case after a storm, which leads to a pooling of gray and even black water. The damage can also extend to the basement. This leads to interior wood rot and increased risk of indoor flooding. In turn, this can damage other components, such as the electrical wiring.

Another problem is that the water can seep into the soil. This can lead to some parts of the soil expanding that shifts the foundation, leading to cracks. The amount of water absorption by the soil depends on the geographic location. Some parts of the Dallas, TX, region have clay soils. This makes a properly functioning drainage system all the more important.

How to Improve Drainage

First, inspect your gutter system. Get on a ladder and clean out any debris. You should do this after every storm. While up there, check the unit for damage. If the gutter is sagging or detaching from the house, then it needs repairs or a replacement. Also, check the downspout. As a general rule, the point where the water exits should at least be three-feet away from the house’s base. We can’t overstate the importance of this. Every inch of rain that hits the roof causes as much as 600 gallons of water runoff that exits the downspout. You don’t want that amount of water resting near the foundation.

Sprinklers are another primary source of pooling water. Invest in a sprinkler and irrigation system that automatically adjusts settings. Nowadays, there are smart sprinkler devices that enable users to turn the system on and off via mobile device.

We Improve Residential Drainage

Our foundation repair services include drainage system repair. Poor drainage near the foundation can result in cost-prohibitive damage. Prevent this altogether by calling Align Foundation Repair.

Broken brick on home in need of foundation repair

How Can Water Impact Your Home’s Foundation?

The structural integrity of your home rests on its foundation. When foundational damage occurs, Texas homeowners are on high alert. In many cases, water seepage and excess moisture are the culprits.

What exactly happens when water collects around a home’s foundation? And what are the possible causes? At Align Foundation Repair, we have the answers.

Potential Causes of Water Seepage

  • Blocked gutters and downspouts that cause water to fall against the structure and foundation
  • Improper grading that directs water toward the home
  • Extensive drought followed by flash flooding, a common problem in Texas
  • Plumbing leaks and burst pipes
  • A malfunctioning sump pump
  • Poor drainage
  • Tree roots that are very close to the foundation, pulling in moisture
  • Expanding and contracting soil that erodes, allowing water to infiltrate

How Does Water Impact the Foundation?

When water collects around a foundation, it creates pressure on the structure. This is further exacerbated by expansive clay soil that is common throughout Texas. During heavy rains or prolonged contact with water, the soil swells significantly. When the water evaporates during dry spells, the soil shrinks. This constant movement with the changes of season creates tremendous stress. It can result in hydrostatic plumbing issues and structural damage.

Cracks and horizontal fissures in the foundation are potential signs of water infiltration. You may also notice a musty odor, bubbling paint, and mildew on the walls. If the problem is neglected for long periods of time, you may soon need professional foundation repair services.

If you suspect water seepage or drainage problems near your foundation, it is essential to take proactive measures before minor issues become more extensive and costly to fix. And if you’re looking for Richardson foundation repair specialists, you’ve come to the right place.

Trusted Foundation Repair Richardson TX

If you are concerned that your foundation is being compromised by water seepage, a professional inspection is a smart idea. Align Foundation Repair can identify underlying problems causing excess moisture that the average homeowner is likely to miss.

We offer foundation repair services in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area for both homeowners and commercial properties. Protect your investment and gain peace of mind knowing our high-quality work is backed by an industry-leading warranty.

Not sure if you are in our Richardson TX foundation repair service area? Contact us today to arrange a free inspection and estimate.

Align Foundation Repair commercial drainage system installation in downtown Dallas OPTIMIZED

What Are the Types of Surface Drainage Systems?

Flat, even terrain is ideal for both residential and commercial construction. Unfortunately, tracts of level land are also vulnerable to heavy rainfall, which can saturate the soil or create stagnant pools of water that take months to evaporate.

Saturated soil and standing water can promote mold growth in your home or commercial building or even cause catastrophic damage to your foundation.

One of the best ways to deal with groundwater problems is to install surface drainage systems on your property. These solutions can provide excellent results when used in conjunction with your existing gutters and downspouts.

Two of the most effective options for managing groundwater are surface drains and French drains. Let’s look at how they work.

Surface drains

A surface drain is a ground-level grate placed over an underground catch basin. It’s installed at locations on your property where rainwater tends to pool.

Typically the basin is connected to buried pipes that direct the water to a central collection point such as a lake, stream, city sewage system, or street.

Surface drains do require occasional cleaning to prevent clogs. The grates are visible to onlookers, which may present an aesthetic concern for some property owners. Still, they’re an efficient way to prevent standing water from damaging your home, commercial building, or landscaping.

French drains

A French drain is a channel cut into the soil and lined with landscaping fabric. Corrugated pipe is placed in the drain and covered over with gravel or loose stone. The drain is sloped so that it flows away from the building.

Properly installed French drains resemble naturally formed stone paths, making them a great way to complement shrubs, flowerbeds, and other landscaping features. They’re more effective than surface drains at managing saturated soil. However, they’re also more expensive.

Which solution is right for you?

Which surface water drainage system is right for you? The answer to this question depends on many factors, such as the types of structures you have on your land and the contours of your property.

Determining the best way to go takes a professional on-site evaluation, which is where Align Foundation Repair comes into the picture. Our track record of success gives you the confidence that we’ll do the job right the first time.

Already have a groundwater management system in place that needs servicing? We also provide comprehensive surface drainage system repair services.

Every moment you wait puts your home or commercial building at risk of groundwater damage. To learn more about our drainage solutions, call us today.

Align Foundation Repair commercial surface drainage installation

What is a Surface Drain?

A surface drain protects your home or commercial property from the effects of standing water. It works in conjunction with safeguards such as grading, contouring, and sloping while also providing a multi-layered defense against the impact of rain and other forms of precipitation.

Why is a surface drain so important?

To understand the importance of having good drainage solutions, take a few minutes to look around your property after the next downpour. You’ll probably see pools of standing water against your home’s foundation or scattered across the landscape.

Left uncorrected, these miniature swamps can wreak havoc with your lawn, your property values, or even your health. Here’s why:

  • Stagnant water creates dips and depressions: The kind that can erode valuable topsoil or even cause trip and fall hazards.
  • Water pooled against your foundation will eventually cause a leaking basement or crawl space: It’s like a ticking time bomb beneath your feet. Sooner or later, the unwanted moisture will find its way into your home or commercial building, causing wood to rot and concrete to crumble.
  • Standing water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and pests: Keep mosquitoes, rats, and disease-causing organisms off your property. Long-term standing water is also a prime cause of mold, which in certain forms can trigger allergies and interfere with breathing.
  • Standing water causes excessive soil movement that leads to foundation issues: Clay-based soils expand when exposed to water, and can shift your foundation unevenly. Some soils collapse in the presence of water and can no longer support the load of the house.

Architects and construction workers are well-acquainted with the problems caused by rainwater. That’s why they include gutters and drainage spouts in their designs.

But these measures, while helpful, may not protect your property from the dangers associated with standing water. This is especially true if your land is poorly graded or improperly percolated.

The best way to address these problems is with surface drain installation. Here’s how it works:

  1. A contractor installs underground pipes and a catch basin: Gravel is placed beneath these components to allow excess water to flow into the ground.
  2. The pipes are topped off with either a flat or atrium grate: This is done to prevent people or animals from falling into the drain. It also helps to control soil seepage and plant growth inside the pipes.
  3. The pipes flow to a carefully chosen location: Most often, this location is a city sewer facility in urban areas or a river or stream in rural areas.

Surface drains vs. French drains: what’s the difference?

The primary purpose of a surface drain is to catch water that would otherwise remain above ground. On the other hand, a French drain is primarily used for water that would otherwise saturate the underlying soil and cause root rot or other problems.

A French drain is visible above ground as a channel filled with gravel or stone. A surface drain is usually covered by earth and invisible except for the entrance grate and exit points.

Want to know more? Give us a call

Here at Align Foundation Repair, our technicians are experts in all aspects of surface drain installation. Contact us today to learn more or to obtain a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

Align Foundation Repair installing area drain at old Dallas County Courthouse

Why is an Area Drain Typically Used?

As with all other exterior drains, the primary purpose of an area drain is to shuttle water away from the foundation. However, what makes its application different from other drain types? What are the right circumstances for area drain usage in North Texas?

What is an Area Drain?

First, it helps to understand how an area drain is constructed. The drain system and its pipes are installed below the soil. The construction extends beyond the drainage system itself. For an area drain to be effective, the trench the system is built under needs to be slightly sloped downwards. This allows gravity to do the job by enabling water to naturally flow downward through the pipes and through an exit basin located away from property grounds.

An area drain has an open grate for water to enter. The connecting pipes are angled downwards and flow to the exit grate. The exit point may be near or beyond the property boundaries. Ideally, it should be an open area that gets ample and direct sunlight to allow for optimal evaporation.

When is an Area Drain Necessary?

A technician may recommend an area drain if you have a recurring problem with ponding water after a rain spell. The fact that water is lingering for extended periods indicates that the ground is flat, thus not allowing water to naturally flow where a slope descends. Even if you don’t see puddles directly, you may notice an excessively soggy lawn that takes upwards of days to dry out. Additionally, you may also notice water getting into the crawlspace. Worse, water may seep into the ground level of your home.

If left untreated, the ponding water can lead to soil erosion, creating gaps in the ground that enables even more water to collect. If it makes contact with the foundation, it can make its way into areas where cracks and openings are present and exacerbate existing damage to the slab.

Area Drains Are Made to Specific Residential Requirements

One of the best attributes of area drains is that they can be built to specifications most beneficial for the layout of your land. If your neighbor’s property sits higher than yours, for example, water may divert from the neighbor’s plot of land to yours. An area drain can be installed at the specific point where water enters from the neighbor’s property.

In addition, the exit pipe can also be positioned in accordance with city ordinance. Some municipalities have regulations regarding where water can and cannot be redirected.

We Install Area Drains

Do you find water remaining on your lawn long after rain? Your existing drainage system may be inadequate. An area drain may be the appropriate corrective action. The purpose of an area drain system is precisely to remove the water that can cause structural damage and invite mold and mildew growth. Take measures before the situation gets worse by calling Align Foundation Repair. We provide a free estimate with every consultation.

Downspout drainage pipe dripping of rain water

How Can I Tell If I Need Drainage Work?

Your gutters are your first line of defense against puddling water. Prolonged water exposure is the primary cause of foundation damage. The signs of residential drainage problems include a gushing gutter, moving mulch, puddling water, ground mildew, and more. We will discuss these at length; these are telltale signs that your drainage is not doing its job and requires a serious look from a professional.

1. Puddling Water

It’s normal for water to puddle around your yard after rain. It becomes abnormal, however, if the puddle remains for days on end. The water is supposed to eventually drain out to the street or filter through the soil. Water puddling indicates one of two things: the drainage system needs work, and the yard is likely not properly sloped.

2. Gushing Gutters

Is water exiting the downspout sporadically instead of flowing out smoothly? This is a sign of a backed-up gutter. You may also notice mud splatters on the wall; this indicates water coming out forcefully and in short bursts. You will need to clean the gutters. In most cases, you may just need to get on a ladder and remove physical debris by hand. It’s also possible, though, that the gutters may be damaged, improperly pitched, or undersized. The gutters may need to be reconfigured.

3. Ground Mildew

If you spot or smell mildew on the ground, that’s a tipoff that an issue is occurring at ground level.

4. Shifting Mulch

Do you notice mulch moving away from certain areas, leaving bare spots in the soil? Mulch shifts when water collects and carves a gulley within the landscape. Often, the water will carry away much of the mulch and vegetation and drag them into spots where they don’t belong. Aside from poor drainage, water can also puddle due to compact soil that doesn’t drain properly. This is especially common in the North Texas region where the heavy clay-based soil is prone to compaction.

5. Bowing Floors

Water can seep into the concrete foundation especially if there are existing cracks and splits in the slab. This causes further warping and expansion. Of course, you can’t see the foundation directly, but you will notice something is awry when the floors feel a bit “off.” You may notice some parts feel like it’s bulging, slanted, or sloped.

Correct Drainage Problems ASAP

Drainage issues will only exacerbate over time. Don’t ignore the drainage problem signs, believing they are just the normal recourse after a rain spell. The effect of ponding water can be devastating to the concrete foundation. Contact Align Foundation Repair if water time and again lingers around your property. Your drainage system likely requires some refitting. We provide a free estimate with every home visit.

Old drain pipe system

Do You Repair Existing Drainage Systems?

Can a residential drainage system be repaired, or are you better off replacing the entire system? The answer depends on the extent of the damage and other factors. At Align Foundation Repair, we offer effective, long-term existing drainage system repair solutions, though in some rare cases, the whole system may need to be replaced.

Let’s explore the factors that determine when repair is doable and the situations that warrant a total drain replacement.

When Can a Drain Be Repaired?

If you see puddles forming around the home and dangerously close to the foundation, then the drainage is clearly failing. What is the cause of the drain failure in the first place? The most common cause is a simple backup due to a buildup of solid debris accumulating in the pipes. The drains can be cleared using a number of techniques, such as hydro-jetting.

The issue may also lie within the pipe itself. The pipe may be sagging (AKA “bellying”) or be separated at the joints. If gutters are involved, the pipe may pull away from the roof. These issues are repairable.

When Should You Replace the Entire Drainage?

A simple reason for replacement is old age. The definition of “old,” though, depends on the type of pipes. Cast iron pipes, for example, have a lifespan of about 50 years. PVC pipes, more common in modern homes in the North Texas region, have a similar lifespan of 50 to 60 years. If you’re experiencing constant issues, and the pipes are within five years of their life expectancy, then it may be time for a replacement.

Issues may also arise due to poor initial installation. Drainage needs to be installed with its surroundings in mind. The driveway, for example, may have a section that angles inward, allowing water to puddle. Likewise, the home itself may be built on the downward end of a slope. These are issues that need to be addressed beforehand. However, the previous installer may not have taken these facets into consideration. In this instance, the entire system may need to be replaced or reconfigured.

Other situations that may require a full replacement include:

  • Extensive pipe corrosion
  • Extensive pipe damage from tree roots
  • Old pipes not conforming to modern regulations

We Repair and Replace Existing Drains

Align Foundation Repair installs drainage systems, including French, surface, and channel drain solutions. Likewise, we can also fix a current drainage system if the issue is relatively minor, and the system as a whole is still in fair condition.

Only an in-person evaluation from one of our technicians can make the determination. Give us a call today; we provide a free estimate with every home visit.

Downspout drain with flowing water

What Type of Maintenance Is Required for My Drainage System?

The drainage system on your property is one of the most critical components yet one of the most overlooked. Without it, water is susceptible to ponding precariously close to the foundation. This is especially so in the North Texas region where soil erosion creates cavities and gaps for water to settle. Drainage system maintenance is pivotal. Do you know how to care for it and keep it in usable condition? The solution includes both DIY and professional upkeep.

Professional Maintenance

While there are DIY measures, they do not replace the yearly or so professional inspection. Most drainage pipes are installed below surface; homeowners have no way of observing the pipe interior to examine its condition. A professional can assess the pipes without any intrusive digging. This is made possible thanks to miniature cameras that can be snaked into the pipe. This is no different than the cameras used for observing an air duct system or plumbing pipes in the home. The camera can detect debris; removing debris can be achieved using some form of water flushing method, such as hydro jetting.

Remove Nearby Vegetation

While you can’t check the pipe interior, you can check the grate. The openings can easily become clogged with debris carried over from flowing water. Constantly check the grate and remove obstructions. It also helps to rake away nearby leaves and keep the immediate vicinity clear of foliage. This is especially important during spring and fall when vegetation is in abundance.

Remove the Grate

If you’re a bit more hands-on, you can remove the grate and remove debris by hand or use a hand cultivator. You can even use a basic shop vac to reach beyond the depths not possible using your hands alone. Keep in mind, though, that even this will not reach the most inner depths of the pipe and definitely not if the pipe branches in multiple directions. This is why an occasional professional assessment is still required.

Clean the Termination Area

Don’t limit the cleaning to the opening at the grate. We also suggest checking the termination area. This is the point where the drain’s basin empties out. This should be located towards the outer boundaries of your property where the water is funneled away from your home. Remove the grate and clean this area the way you would the entrance point.

Flush the Drain Pipes

Every few months, flush the pipes by inserting a garden hose into the catch basin and turning the water on. The pressure from the water will flush out accumulated debris. If this works, you will see solid sediments exit the termination point. We must stress that this DIY measure – while effective – is not a replacement for professional hydro jetting.

We Maintain Your Drainage System Year-Round

Leave the annual cleaning to Align Foundation Repair. We clean and repair all types of drains, including French, surface, and channel drains. Drainage for foundation maintenance is integral for your home especially if you reside in a region known for frequent rain spells. Give us a call today for an inspection that includes a free estimate.