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.

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.

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.

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.

PVC Vs Corrugated Drain Pipe for French Drains

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. 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. At your free drainage evaluation, a technician from Align Foundation Repair can demonstration 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 over corrugated pipes. 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.

French Drain vs. Swale

French Drain vs Swale: Which Is the Right Option?

Part of properly caring for your home and property entails a proper drainage system. Otherwise, water can collect in specific spots, causing the soil to become oversaturated. This can have serious consequences if the water puddles around the foundation. Drainage systems come in several types. The question of whether to choose a French drain vs swale comes up a lot because these are two of the more common systems employed in residential and commercial properties.

What Is a French Drain?

Contrary to popular belief, the French drain did not originate in France. It was invented by an American man by the name of Henry Flagg French and is a mainstay in modern day drainage systems.

How does it work? Water naturally flows in the direction of least resistance. This usually means flowing downhill even if a slope is minimal. At its most basic level, a French drain is a slightly sloped trench consisting of gravel and a pipe designed to shuttle water away from the foundation. The gravel provides a porous surface for water to seep through, and a pipe installed below provides an outlet for water to travel through and exit at a safe distance from the home. Typically, the water exits into a drainage ditch, a dry well, street, or low-lying area in your property.

What Is a Swale?

A Swale is essentially a ditch concealed with turfgrass or other vegetation. It is very similar to a trench drain, which is also a trench intended for the purpose of collecting surface water over a long expanse of land. The main difference is that a swale is a lot more subtle in appearance and blends with the surrounding landscape.

How French Drains and Swales Compare

The primary difference between the two systems comes down to their primary purpose. Yes, they’re both designed to drain water, but for different reasons. French drains have a more functional purpose, as they are intended to keep water away from the foundation. Swales, on the other hand, are often recommended by landscapers as a general-purpose drain. Swales are sometimes not an option in urban areas because they require large lots to shape properly.

We Install French Drains

A drainage system is vital in a region like the Dallas Fort Worth area, due to its highly porous soil conditions. French drain vs land drain? Leave it to Align Foundation Repair to install a new French drain, or repair an existing one, to keep water from collecting around the foundation.

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.