Dear Claire: What Do I Do Now that the Rainy Season Has Arrived?
Protecting Your Home from Rain: Prevention and Solutions
The rainy season is here. What can that do to your house? All kinds of terrible things. If those terrible things happen, what do you do?
In Oregon, you either have a basement or you have a crawl space. In a basement, you’re going to go into it a lot more often than a crawl space. I would recommend even, like, January, maybe even once a month or once every six months, you might want to poke your head down the crawl space and check and just make sure you don’t see any rain or moisture. It’s going to be important that you nip it in the bud. If you’re getting water inside your house, obviously, if you go downstairs in your basement and say your basement has your laundry because most houses in Portland have the basement and laundry, you might go down there and be like, “Oh, I noticed some water coming in that corner.”
Most of the time, water in the basement is going to have to do with drainage up top. Walk around your house. Go downstairs and if there’s a corner of your basement and it’s got water in it, go upstairs to that corner outside because the corners are typically where your downspouts are.
You can imagine that your gutter, when your roof goes into the gutter, water goes in the gutter and it goes down to stop it. Typically, those downspouts are on the corner of your house. So, if you walk around you’re going to see on that corner where the water is most of the time, it’s going to be a downspout that might be disconnected from its little extender, that’s extending it out into the yard. Or it might have like an elbow like this, you’re going to see it going into the ground and there’s going to go run in the sewer line. Lots of times, the elbow that you can’t see has a hole in it and the water is just draining on the foundation. Most of the time that’s going to take care of it. My downspout is pouring water on my foundation and that’s why the water is there. If it’s not, there’s different steps to this.
If it’s not the downspout, it’s not an easy fix. Then you’re going to have to start getting into a more expensive and difficult since we are going to be managing drainage on site. So that’s going to be digging up the side of your house, putting rock in there, and setting up a French drain. That’s usually the next big step for drainage issues. That’s way more expensive than managing your downspout something you can do. If I’ve done it, you can do it. But if you’re looking at digging a French drain, that’s like next level. So we’re talking $7,000 to $15,000 to have a French drain installed, and then the price goes up from there. You can waterproof the side of the basement wall. There’s all kinds of stuff for basements and crawl spaces. If you keep your head down in the crawl space and you see water, you want to do the same thing, go to out to that corner wherever it is and see if the downspouts are connected to something. If the downspout looks good, you’re going to have rain yet in that crawl space, look and see, because most crawl spaces have what’s called a ‘low point drain.’ There’s going to be a pipe that goes to a drain just literally in the dirt that’s supposed to if water gets into the crawl space. So often times, what you’re going to find is that the drain might be clogged up. It might have dirt in it or rocks in it or sometimes they leave construction debris down there. That’s also real easy fix. And often the thing that needs to be done is clear out that drain so that it can drain the water easily. After that, you might want to have a sump pump installed. That’s another thing on both a crawl space and a basement that you could do to get water out once it’s in, but then same thing.
If you can’t figure out how to get the water out of the crawl space, and it’s happening often, you might want to install a French drain or some other, you know, higher-level water management on site.
Of course, I’m sure all of this might scare the bejesus out of you, but if you take anything away from this go outside while it’s not raining, go look at your gutters and make sure that they’re attached to the downspout and that your downspouts are attached to an extender that goes out into the yard. Do that one thing and you’re going to probably be golden for the rest of the season.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or you’re wondering about anything, just reach out to me and I’m always available to answer any of your questions. Have a wonderful day and we’ll talk soon. Take care.
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