Waco Home Inspection Part 5

Grading and Drainage

All of the recent heavy rain and flooding have prompted me to write about grading and drainage, which is a major section of any home inspection report. Grading has to do with how the soil is contoured around a house. In general, there should be six inches of slope in ten feet around the perimeter. Poor grading can contribute to poor drainage, which in turn can contribute to erosion and foundation problems.

As important as grading is, most of the houses I inspect in Waco and Central Texas have deficiencies in grading. It is often flat, or flower and shrub beds are bordered in flat areas alongside the house, restricting drainage. Frequently, the grading is too high along the house, providing an easy path for termites and other vermin, even water, to enter and damage the structure.

Almost as often, there is erosion at some stage doing slow and steady damage, or even severe damage. Water, like rust, never sleeps!

Finally, a well-designed house should have a well-designed drainage system that will direct water to places where it can do no harm. Part of that system is a gutter, which can catch the water and divert it into downspouts. However, if you have gutters, they should be cleaned as often as needed. Otherwise, nature can and will take over.

Gutters that are filled with organic debris and dust will weigh them down, especially when they begin to support plants, which can attract other wildlife. That is, unless you want to "re-purpose" those gutters!

All jokes aside, grading and drainage is serious business that can affect the performance of your foundation, driveway and walkways. As we have seen in the last few weeks, water can do a lot of damage. The job of a well-designed home is to minimize that damage.

Until next time, keep dry! 

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