Many homeowners do not realize the importance of a properly-installed roof drainage system. By diverting the flow of water away from your home, you can prevent a range of problems such as basement flooding, yard erosion, and a wet crawlspace. From the downward slope of the roof to the gutter system that spans the perimeter of your home, each component plays a vital role in minimizing groundwater accumulation around your foundation. Unfortunately, the roof does not always do an adequate job in water management. Learn how to spot poor roof drainage and how to take care of damage through roof repair.
Effects of Poor Drainage on a Home
An estimated 85 percent of home repair expenses in the U.S. are related to water damage. Having a poorly-installed drainage system can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage, and can potentially cause health problems if mold forms indoors. Property damage is one of the biggest risks of leaving a poorly-installed drainage system unchecked. Poor drainage can cause damage to asphalt and concrete, structural and foundation damage, building material deterioration, overflowing gutters, erosion, rodent and insect infestations, wood rot and mold growth, and discoloration on walls, ceilings, and floors.
In addition to structural damage to your home, poor drainage can wreak havoc on your landscaping. As water accumulates on your lawn, dirt and mulch can be pushed around creating uneven surfaces and messy walkways and paths. Uncontrolled drainage problems can also cause overwatering, which can lead to fungus growth, root diseases, and plant death. As the soil around your home absorbs water, the foundation is at risk for cracking due to the soil expanding and contracting. A proper drainage system can help keep water away from the foundation to prevent these types of problems.
How to Spot Poor Drainage
Locating drainage problems on your roof and around your home are the first steps to preventing further damage. While some drainage problems are highly visible, others are not so obvious. Start by looking in an unsuspecting spot – your gutters. If you notice that water is flowing over the gutters instead of through them, you likely have a clog from dead leaves and debris. Also look for other signs of gutter issues, such as vertical streaks of dirt on the exterior of the gutters, mud splattered on the siding, and peeling or blistering paint caused by moisture issues.
In addition to the gutters themselves, you will want to pay attention to where the water goes after it leaves the roof. Poorly-installed downspouts can cause an array of problems if they are not diverted far enough away from your home. When too much water is dumped out of the downspout and near your foundation, it can quickly seep into your basement. Once inside your home, water can cause extensive damage to your floors, walls, ceilings, furnishings, and other items. Water can also cause damage in the form of discoloration and water stains on interior surfaces.
Erosion is another major issue that can occur when a drainage system is not properly installed. Look at the condition of your garden and lawn to see how rainwater is affecting it. Take note of how high the soil is, and how much water is in your garden beds. If standing water is found in your yard, it is a clear sign that your lawn is not properly draining. If the problem is not remedied, you could find the ground under the foundation gradually softening causing the house to shift. This can cause cracks in the foundation walls and lead to structure issues.
Water damage is not always evident in the form of moisture. On basement walls, water damage can appear in a different form. Look for areas of grey or white crust. Known as efflorescence, these patches are mineral deposits that have been left behind by evaporated water. Also look in your attic for signs of water damage in the form of mold or mildew growth. Black, green, or yellow fungus growth may grow on the underside of the roof which signals there is a leak that needs to be fixed to prevent water intrusion.
Over time, poor drainage can cause water to accumulate. If you allow this to happen over the period of many years, bowing and sagging can occur. As your home shifts due to a poorly-installed drainage system, you can expect your floors to move too. Shifting causes the boards to pop up along with the flooring overtop. It is not always obvious when walking across your floors, but you may notice that your doors and windows no longer close properly. Your roof may also begin to sag as the materials that make up the roof begin to weaken. This is a sign that roof repair is needed.
Repairing a Poor Drainage System
If poor drainage exists, it is important to invest in professional roof repair services as soon as possible to minimize any future damage. Start by analyzing the condition of your gutter system. A quality gutter system will direct rainwater away from your home and foundation, eliminating a number of common water-related problems. If you are not sure if you need to replace your gutters, check for the common signs. Cracks, splits, peeling paint, orange areas of rust, mildew growth, and water damage around or under the gutters signal a problem. If the gutter is sagging, it is not functioning properly and needs to be replaced.
You will also want to check your downspouts for signs of damage or excessive wear. The minimum size for a downspout is 2 by 3 inches, but larger sizes are better equipped to deal with rainfall. At ground level, the downspout should be directed a minimum of five feet away from your home. Ideally, have the water from the downspout flowing onto a hard surface, such as a driveway. For more information about drainage systems or roof repair, or for a free roof repair estimate, contact professional roof repair contractors today.