Water that runs off of your roof can saturate the ground around your foundation. This may not seem like a problem but it can become one. Not only will saturated soil allow water to leak through your foundation, but it can also cause your foundation to start cracking, and without a solid foundation your roof can collapse.
Thus, any roof should be fitted with a system of gutters and downspouts. While these should channel the water away from your foundation, sometimes you need more:
Limitations of Downspouts
One problem with a system of gutters and downspouts is that it channels all of the water that collects in the gutters to one area. If the downspout doesn't run far enough away from your foundation, you might not have saturated soil all along your foundation, but you may still have problems in just one area.
Extending your downspout for some distance away from your foundation can be visually unpleasing and can create problems in that the section of downspout that extends out from your building can get damaged by lawnmowers, people, or even snow falling off of your roof.
How a French Drain Can Help
A French drain is a trench that you cut into the ground and then fill with gravel. At the end of this trench, you may also dig a pit to fill with gravel for water to collect in. In order for the trench thus created to be effective in guiding water away from your foundation, it should slope slightly from the bottom or your downspout to the end of your trench.
Because the trench is filled with gravel, any water that enters the trench will flow away from your home, so you don't have to worry about foundation problems. Also, because a French drain is underground, you don't have to worry about it getting damaged or broken away from your downspout.
Repairing a foundation represents a huge cost if repairs are possible at all. If you don't catch damage to your foundation soon enough, you might have no choice but to have your home condemned. As is usually the case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you notice that your downspouts are simply directing a large volume of water collected from your roof to a relatively small section of your foundation, then you need to take steps to improve your drainage. Remember that drainage away from your foundation is just as important as the drainage from your roof.
Hi, welcome to my blog. My name is Wendy, and after traveling through many parts of the world as I worked on a degree in anthropology with a minor in architecture, I learned a lot. I saw how people took different approaches to the same issue (putting a roof on their home), but more importantly, I noticed how those approaches were dictated by the climate and culture in the area. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people in North America build roofs that are traditional rather than roofs that are the right fit for the climate. If you are interested in exploring the latter idea, I'm here to help. These posts look at the best way to get a roof that protects you from the elements. Explore, enjoy and send your friends over to my blog. Thanks!