Grading And Drainage: "Negative Drainage Conditions"

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Grading is essential to a house and home inspector reports often say something like, "Negative drainage conditions."

What is a "negative drainage condition?" 

ANY GRADING THAT DOES NOT ENCOURAGE WATER AWAY FROM THE HOUSE STRUCTURE.

Here is what I say on EVERY report, whether the grading needs attention or not:

"Grading/drainage:  be sure that any surface water or downspout discharge drains easily and well away from the house – a good rule of thumb for soil grading is a slope of 6” in the first 4’ of run away from the house, and 1” of slope for every 4’ of run away from the house thereafter."

Why do I say that on EVERY report?  SO THE CLIENT SEES IT!  I think the report should be educational as well as informational.  And that is GOOD information in anyone's book!

But why?

Certainly this kind of cracking is due to settlement.  The crack is evident on the left just under the vent, and it continues for many feet to the left.  The crack on the right begins at the corner and it continues for many feet to the left.

These are both on the same side of the house.  The house is 45 years old, and has a concrete masonry unit (concrete block) foundation.

I also noticed that the two downspouts on that side of the house had been recently extended to divert gutter water further from the house.  Also, there was soil banked recently against the house.  How did I know this is fresh soil?  Because it was very dark, like out of a bag from the garden center, and a different color from the soil 6' from the house.  IT WAS ADDED RECENTLY.

The key word in both those clues is RECENTLY.  Obviously these sellers had gotten some solid advice from someone about water diversion and "negative drainage conditions."

But the damage had been done.  Years of "negative drainage conditions" had created a foundation problem, about which nothing was done.

My recommendation:  there is a cause and effect when cracking like what is seen above is present on a house.  Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it requires professional evaluation.  But grading and drainage are so essential to a house, they should always be the belle of the ball when looking at properties.  WATER IS THE KILLER OF HOUSES.  Be sure that water is diverted AWAY from the house.  Be sure...

 


Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Bloggged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. JO SOSS 12/30/2011 10:27 AM
  2. Mary Macy 01/01/2012 11:43 PM
  3. Sue Ellett 01/02/2012 09:45 AM
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Comments 26 New Comment

Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Thank you Pat!  And the happy stuff backatcha!

Thanks Mary.  You are right about the time of year, but it's always good to correct drainage!  Thanks for the reblog!

January 02, 2012 06:38 AM
Rainmaker
565,376
David Popoff
Realtor & Property Manager, Fairfield County, Ct.
DMK Real Estate & Property Mgmt

Jay, thanks for the post, as real estate agents we need to keep our eyes open, Happy New Year.

January 02, 2012 09:52 AM
Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Thanks David.  And keep them wide open!

January 02, 2012 10:09 AM
Rainmaker
407,329
Michelle Francis
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease
Tim Francis Realty LLC

Jay, 

One of the first things that catches my husband's attention about any house is the drainage.  He never wants to be the lowest yard around where all of the water will automatically gravitate to!  

Good gutters are so worth the money in taking water away from a house.  Having water cause structural issues is very costly.

All the best, Michelle

January 02, 2012 08:03 PM
Rainmaker
1,168,529
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

All true Michelle.  You get a Gold Star for the day.  You are probably used to that, though.

And your husband is a smart guy!

January 02, 2012 08:09 PM
Rainmaker
1,168,529

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.