Drainage Engineering

Does Your Building or Home Have a Drainage Problem?

How Soil Moisture Levels Affect Your Foundation 

Some of the clay soil in this area of Texas is considered an “expansive” soil. That means the soil will expand as water is absorbed and shrink as moisture leaves the soil. If the surface soil is not properly graded to drain the water away from your home or building quickly, the clay can cause water to pond against your foundation and absorb into the soil beneath. The movement of soil as it expands with moisture and shrinks as it dries can cause significant damage to your foundation.

The surface of the soil around your foundation should have a noticeable slope away from the foundation to keep water from saturating the ground beneath it. However, even with a proper grade, there are still situations which can affect the moisture level in the soil and impact your foundation. Most of the causes of moisture changes in the soil are climate-related, but not all. These are a few of the common culprits that can expand or shrink the soil around your foundation:

  • Leaks in swimming pools or plumbing
  • Leaks in irrigation lines
  • Water from roof runoff or broken gutters
  • Water from downspouts
  • Condensation from AC lines
  • Sewer or potable water line leaks
  • Trees and bushes near the foundation
  • Landscaping vegetation
  • Lack of uniformity in ground cover near the foundation

A certain amount of expansion and contraction is to be expected in the soil around your foundation. But too much can actually cause your foundation to shift or move too much. 

If you believe your home, commercial building or multi-family residential building has a drainage or grading issue, give us a call. We will do a full drainage inspection and provide a detailed report on our findings and recommendations for remediation.  

Residential Drainage Inspection

Why Choose a Structural Engineer for Residential Drainage Inspection? 

As the property owner, you may realize that you have a drainage problem. Recognizing there is a problem is only the first step. Determining the severity of the problem and discovering the cause of the problem are the next steps. That’s where the expertise of a residential engineer comes into play. 

A residential engineer has a technical understanding that only can be attained with years of education and years of training and working in the field of work. They know where to look and what to look for. They understand how different soil types can affect your type of foundation. They know how to identify changes in the placement or structure of a foundation that aren’t noticeable to the naked eye. 

Once the engineer has completed the inspection and noted the findings, an engineer can take it to the next step. They can provide recommendations on how the drainage or moisture issue can be fixed. Again, the years of training and experience will provide the expert guidance necessary to lead you in the right direction.

Crosstown Engineering has experience and training needed to properly identify drainage issues and perform foundation inspections for residential, commercial and industrial properties. Give us a call.

How Drainage Relates to Pier and Beam Foundations

Crosstown Engineering – Pier and Beam Foundation Experts

Pier and beam foundations can be more complex and more difficult to assess than concrete foundations. But at Crosstown Engineering, we are happy to take on projects with these types of foundations. We have extensive experience with pier and beam. We pride ourselves in offering the most thorough and technically-sound pier and beam inspections available.

With a pier and beam foundation, water can collect in the crawlspace underneath the home. Since wood is used in the construction of pier and beam foundations, humid crawlspace air and constant moisture exposure can cause the wood to deteriorate and potentially grow mold or fungus. The structural integrity of the building is at risk when this happens, and should be addressed immediately.

If you discover the drainage problem soon enough, you may just need to determine the best solution to the problem. A structural engineer with experience and knowledge in drainage issues with pier and beam can discuss the possible options for correcting the drainage issues. In some cases, changing the grading around the home is sufficient. At other times, a French drain system or sump pump may be required to move the water away from the foundation.

Pier and beam foundations are one of our specialties. Call us at Crosstown Engineering to schedule a consultation.

How Gutters Contribute to Drainage Issues

Proper Gutter Systems for Your Building 

One of the most common culprits related to water drainage around a foundation is your gutter system. When gutters are properly installed and maintained, they protect your foundation from the water run-off from your roof. If your gutter system isn’t doing its job properly, there can be a variety of reasons: 

  1. You may not have gutters everywhere they are needed.
  2. Your gutter sections may have separated, or there is a break allowing water to leave the gutters before reaching the downspout.
  3. The gutters may not be sized appropriately or are not designed appropriately.
  4. Blocked gutters can cause the same problem. Be sure to keep gutters free from debris.
  5. Each downspout should have a lead pipe that directs the water away from the building and toward the street or another well-drained location.

When Crosstown Engineering does a drainage inspection, we always check the gutter system to see if it needs repairs, cleaning or the downspout lead pipes need adjusting.

Crosstown Engineering – Drainage Experts

Your property may have had proper drainage and grading when it was constructed and that no longer be the case. Grading and drainage systems can deteriorate or change. For a professional and long-term solution to your drainage problems, contact Crosstown Engineering, the drainage experts.

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