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. Get in touch with us today to learn more or to obtain a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

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