Downspout Extensions, Splash blocks, and Underground Drainage for Homes in Ann Arbor and Throughout Michigan
The importance of proper water management for homes in Ann Arbor and across Michigan can’t be overstated. If ignored, issues such as leaky gutters and pooling water can result in damage to many different areas of the home, including the foundation, that can be costly to repair. Atlas Home Improvement offers several water management solutions in addition to our standard gutter systems, including rain barrels, rainchains, and underground drainage services, which provide comprehensive protection from water damage.
Why Proper Water Management is So Important
Many people do not realize the power of water until it’s too late. As they say “water always wins” and water will usually go where it wants to go unless it is directed elsewhere, perhaps with an underground drainage system. Many times water can cause damage to your home even after it has been safely controlled by your gutters and downspouts. In many cases, we find homes with the downspouts discharging directly next to the foundation, usually due to a downspout elbow falling off or simply because the original gutter installer didn’t know better. Water pooling next to the foundation can lead to a real problem, especially if the grade around the home is poor.
Poor Water Management can Cause Hydrostatic Pressure
Underground water creates what is known as hydrostatic pressure when it encounters a barrier such as a basement or foundation wall. During heavy rains, the water table rises toward your basement which creates more hydrostatic pressure and can exert up to 500 pounds per square inch against your home’s foundation. Over a period of time, this pressure can cause basement walls to bow or crack, leading to water in the basement, mold growth, and a variety of other problems. This has led to the lucrative industry of basement waterproofing which can run upwards of $20,000 or more to have installed. In most cases, this expense can be avoided if you catch issues in time and invest in outside water management options, including a functional and proper capacity gutter system, Gutter Helmet and an underground drainage system.
Effective Water Management Solutions
The best water management strategy involves getting water as far away from the foundation as possible. The easiest way to do this is to add downspout extensions or “kickers” by attaching flexible tubing or an extra downspout pipe to your existing downspout. At Atlas Home Improvement, our standard gutters installation includes extending the downspouts at least 4 feet from the home whenever possible, the farther the better. However, many homeowners do not want to have downspout pipe lying across the grass because it is unsightly and can get in the way of lawn mowers.
There are a couple of solutions to this problem. Some of our customers opt to have us install a hinge on the end of the downspout so they can easily move it out of the way when doing yard work and then put it back in place when they are done. We can achieve this by attaching high-performance velcro to the bottom of the downspout where it is attached to the wall.
Another solution is to install a plastic or concrete splash block at the termination of the downspout. This can give the job a more finished look and is a good way of dispersing the water and directing it away from the home. While these are all good options, underground drainage is by far the most effective solution.
Underground Drainage Provides Comprehensive Water Management
The installation of underground drainage is not usually easy, and sometimes not even possible. However, it is definitely the best long-term approach to directing rainwater away from a home’s foundation. The piping used is usually 4 inches in diameter and may be solid or corrugated. When a property has a good slope away from the home, the end of the underground pipe may simply be terminated and capped. In situations without proper slope a “pop-up” drain may be needed to allow the water to exit in the middle of the lawn.
There are two main ways underground drainage is installed, either by hand digging or using a commercial trenching machine. To determine the best method, you need to account for underground power lines or sprinkler systems as well as cement or brick paver walkways. Every situation is different, but in general the goal is to safely take the water as far away as possible. This can sometimes be a challenge, especially when neighbors are involved. For these reasons, we strongly recommend to our customers that when building a new home, these drain lines should be part of the building process, as they will definitely be worth the investment in the long run. It is simply much more complicated to put them in after the fact.