Fix Drainage Issues Around a Settling House
LESLIE: Susan in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SUSAN: I don’t know if you can mention a brand name. So we got this basement waterproofing system thing installed a couple years ago.
SUSAN: And it’s supposed to help your house. In fact, it’s made our house settle, because they jack-hammered around the inside walls downstairs and dug up outside. And it’s like my house is settling worse than it was. Is there any way to slow it down?
TOM: Well, first of all, most of the time, those types of waterproofing systems are absolutely and completely unnecessary. I know that they’re typically sold with a lot of pressure and a lot of promises and had we talked to you a couple of years ago, we’d have told you absolutely to not do it.
Now that you have done it, I don’t think that anything that they did would make it worse. That said, though, if you still are continuing to get a lot of water that collects around the foundation, that water, although it may be draining down into this drain-tile system on both sides of the foundation, that actually could be loosening up some of the soil and causing an excessive settlement.
Think about it: when you walk across the yard when it’s dry, you walk on top; when it’s wet, you sink in. Your house does the same thing and these subsurface drainage systems, all they do is they let the water run down along the foundation, collect it and then pump it out. What we generally advise is that you take the steps to improve the drainage condition at the foundation perimeter, so that you slope the soil away from the house, you clean the downspouts, you extend them out away, so that water never, ever gets a chance to collect at the foundation perimeter. It stays away from the house; it never gets anywhere near the basement. And that makes the basement a lot more stable, as well as drier.
SUSAN: Alrighty. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.