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Drainage Improvements for Homeowners

You want to protect your home.  What do you do?  You realize that calling a professional would be a good thing, however your bonus from work is still months away.  What do you do?  At Kahn Engineering, one of our goals is to help people improve the drainage on their properties.  We are writing this blog to help the average homeowner do just that.  Take a look at the suggestions below to see if one or more of the suggestions may fit your situation.

The first thing that I look at when coming on a property that has a water issue is to see if the grade next to the house is higher than the surrounding yard.  Builders of homes usually excavate about 3’ further from the basement forms.  After the concrete walls are poured or formed, the builder puts in the draintile next to the foundation with gravel right next to the walls and fills the rest with dirt.  The dirt next to the gravel is often an issue.  So now years later, it is a good idea to fill in that area that may have settled to keep the surface runoff flowing away from your home. 

The next thing to consider is the condition of your gutters.  If you have large trees near your home, look at the gutters to see if they need cleaned.  If you don’t want to do it yourself, there are good companies that will climb on your roof and clean your gutters.  After they are cleaned, some owners consider gutter guards to keep them from filling up again.  Consider investigating the next time that it is raining hard.  Step outside and look at how well your gutters perform in the driving rain.  Are there areas that the water blows by?  Do you have enough capacity on the gutters for a slightly heavier than normal rain event?  If you have 4” gutters and you see that there could be some issues, have you considered going to 6” gutters?  Maybe you just have too much roof area runoff contributing to one gutter?  In that case, maybe just having a good company come in and pitch one half of your gutter to the other side and adding a downspout is in order. 

Downspouts are another item to consider when wanting to improve the drainage of water running off your yard.  Do you have ponding coming off your downspout that is too close to the foundation?  Consider having some or all of your downspouts piped underground and discharged further away from your home.  Trenching those downspout may be just what you need. 

 Are you noticing extra water from the neighbors?  Have they improved conditions on their property and you are noticing extra water from them?  In this case, call Kahn Engineering.  We can assist in coming to a solution to the issue between you and your neighbor. 

Here are some other suggestions that you could consider: 

  • Make sure your sump pump outlets are directed away from your foundation and flowing freely downslope. 
  • Make sure your window wells rims are sufficiently above grade.  Consider having them reset if you have noticed water coming into the basement through the window well. 
  • Do you have soft spots in your yard?  There could be an underground spring or water being redirected from your cutoff wall (walkouts).  Consult Kahn Engineering in this case. 
  • Do you get water in your garage?  You may need to install trench drains in front of the garage. 
  • Do you have rivers or streams in your backyard that are creating issues to your property?  We suggest that this is not something the average homeowner should tackle alone.  Call Kahn Engineering to have us look at the situation and recommend the best course of action. 

These are the most common drainage improvements that homeowners can make.  If you have any question or if you have tried one of these common cures and still need help contact Kahn Engineering.  If you are in the Kansas City area we can come out free of charge and offer some initial suggestions.  We will then prepare a quote for you to consider hiring Kahn Engineering.  If you are out of the Kansas City area, drop us an email and we will respond with some helpful hints to point you in the right direction.  You can email us at