Drainage Solutions for the Bay Area

by Matt Solis


With our long stretches of dry weather, it can be easy for homeowners in the Bay Area to ignore drainage issues affecting their properties. Unfortunately, unaddressed drainage problems can often lead to serious and costly repairs. With the rainiest months of the year just ahead of us, we investigate the consequences of poor drainage and share solutions for some common issues. 

Consequences of poor drainage for Bay Area homes

When seasonal rain occurs, water often pools in a home’s crawl space and goes unnoticed for considerable time. The dark, humid conditions beneath the floorboards allow for mold and dry rot to take hold on the home’s framing and structural components. Additionally, inadequate drainage can lead to termite infestation, as the insects are attracted to moist, rotting wood. 

Most concerning of all are foundation issues. Persistent standing water beneath a home can cause foundation settlement, which can lead to foundational fissures, sloped floors, and cracked doors and window frames. This is especially problematic in our earthquake-prone region

Three solutions for Bay Area drainage problems

Homeowners in the Bay Area need to address drainage issues before they lead to serious consequences. A qualified drainage expert in your area can help identify potential issues and offer the best solutions. Here are some common ways you can keep the rainwater flowing. 

  1. Install properly functioning downspouts. Gutters and downspouts are key to channeling rainwater away from your home so the soil doesn’t become oversaturated. Ideally, downspouts should terminate at least five feet away from your home’s foundation. Splash blocks or downspout extenders can help divert the rainwater. 
  2. Install French drain(s). If your property has groundwater issues, it’s crucial to identify what’s causing them and install French drains that divert groundwater away from the home. A French drain is essentially a ditch containing a pipe that enables water to flow away from the area where pooling occurs. The ditch is then lined and covered with gravel so it blends seamlessly with your landscape design. 
  3. Improve the soil grading. While not as effective as downspouts or French drains, proper soil grading is nonetheless a helpful measure for encouraging surface water to run away from the home. A difference of a few degrees can determine if rain runoff flows toward your home or away from it. A drainage professional can identify any problem areas on your property and regrade the soil so your home is no longer at risk. When approaching such a project, be sure to work with your neighbors so their homes don’t face any additional risk. 

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