Poor Drainage Systems Cause Problems

Poor drainage conditions can leave your home vulnerable to a number of serious health, safety and financial concerns.

wet lawn due to poor drainage near home foundation

These are some of the detrimental effects that poor drainage can have on your home:

  • Loss of Foundation Stability and Structural Foundation Damage
  • Insect Infestation, Mold and Allergens
  • Termite Infestation
  • Discoloration and Premature Aging of Concrete and Exterior Brick

The most common causes of blocked drainage systems are:

  • Buildup of household materials such as soap, hair, food, and fat in the pipes that solidify in external pipes
  • Piling up of objects such as leaves and dirt that get pushed into gutters and drains by rain and storms
  • Tree roots entering broken pipes
  • Incorrect pipe installation
  • Inefficient exterior basement waterproofing

All these issues can cause water buildup outside the home. If external lines are broken, water will seep into the ground around the house. Leaking sewage and wastewater can pose a huge threat to the home’s foundation.


Soils with clay expand as they absorb water. And contract as they dry. That can cause foundation damage. Landscapes sloped toward the house (negative drainage) can cause numerous problems. Absence of gutters or downspouts separated from a total drainage solution are also working against your home.

Some of the Problems Caused by Too Much Water

  • Oversaturated soil swells causing structural foundation damage
  • Dangerous loss of foundation stability
  • Insect infestation, mold and allergens
  • Cracks in interior walls and exterior surfaces
  • Termites
  • Damage to landscape and soil erosion
  • Discoloration and premature aging of concrete and exterior brick
  • Sticking doors and windows

How To Fix These Drainage System Problems

Lack of or Clogged Gutters:  The next time it rains, check outside and see how the gutter system is handling water runoff. If you notice that rain water is flowing over the side of the gutters or water is pooling around the downspout, this could be the plumbing problem.

A lack of gutters or having your downspouts disconnected from a proper drainage solution can dump lots of excess water into the soil surrounding your home. This excess moisture can cause clay soils to expand, often causing that part of your foundation to “heave” upward or settle. This can result in the same loss of support or stability of your foundation and leave cracks in your interior walls or exterior brick.

Inadequately Sloped Landscapes:  Grading issues can cause negative drainage which can cause water to pool in areas around your home. Large puddles of water that do not drain away from the structure can definitely cause problems of excess moisture. Sprinkler systems that put too much water in the wrong places can also cause problems. Re-grading your property may be necessary to permanently solve this problem.

Excess Soil Moisture:  Different types of soil absorb and hold water at various levels. But too much water in almost every type of soil can create “hydrostatic pressure” which causes the soil to expand. When the soil expands, it puts excess pressure on your home’s foundation which can lead to cosmetic or even structural damage. If the above solutions are not possible or inadequate to solve the water logging of the property around the structure, then planting certain types of plants or shrubbery should be looked at as option to try to soak up water.

olshan drainage system installed to drain water away from home's foundation

Without a proper water management solution, your home can be exposed to extensive damage and may lose value.

A thorough and proper exterior water management solution addressing all of the issues is the surest way of controlling drainage problems and helping to prevent future foundation damage resulting from excess soil moisture. If you are in the Nashville area be sure to reach out to our exterior water management experts there!