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Lets face it, downspout drains and splash blocks are boring – that is, until you start having water issues, or worse, structural problems.
Unaware of the risk to their homes foundation, many homeowners think splash blocks are a perfectly acceptable means of providing drainage around a home. How can a simple splash block harm the structure your asking… I hear you, but first a little background in how your homes foundation was constructed.
To build a home we have to dig! We dig to reach solid ground that will support the weight of the home. To ensure the safety of the workers, and allow them room to work, we have to dig the hole a little wider, typically four or five feet wider on all sides of the home. This area, the over-dig, is filled in when your foundation is complete. The dirt is graded to drain water away from your home and grass or flower beds are planted. Everything looks great, but herein lies the problem. You now have an area of disturbed soil surrounding your home, much like a moat around a castle.
Don’t Fill The Moat
Installing splash blocks under your downspouts may prevent localized erosion, but in fact you are dumping large amounts of water into the loose disturbed soil that surrounds your castle. You are effectively filling the unseen moat!
The result, soil will settle, your underground drainage system and sump pump will be over worked, and the potential to saturate and weaken the soil that supports your home increases.
Remember we dug to reach solid soil to support the weight of your home.
Solving The Problem
So how do we protect your homes foundation? Ditch the splash blocks and install downspout drains that will channel water beyond the over-dig area around your home, usually six to ten feet.
Downspout extensions can be a quick fix but are susceptible to damage by lawn maintenance equipment and lack curb appeal. A better solution is to install flexible corrugated drain pipe (pictured), or ridged plastic drain pipe underground. A good landscaper can usually take care of this for you in a day or two.
Channeling water away from your homes foundation is a big step to preserving the structural integrity of your home for years to come.