Water Drainage Problems? Foundation Damage May Be Next
From hurricanes to earthquakes to subsidence, there are a thousand different problems that can harm your home’s foundation. But one of the most damaging is improper water drainage.
When there is too much water surrounding your foundation, the soil swells. Not enough, and the soil shrinks. If the expansions and contractions aren’t uniform, this can lead to cracks, shifts, and other types of foundation problems.
In the past, water drainage issues were relatively isolated phenomena. Some communities were susceptible – others were not. End of story.
But in recent years, water drainage problems continue to crop up in the unlikeliest of places. North Carolina, for example, has experienced heavier-than-normal rains, leading to a host of landslides, floods, and water damage.
- In 2013 alone, Highlands, NC has received more than 77” of rain (and the year’s not even over yet)
- Brevard isn’t far behind, with 29” more rainfall than average
- Asheville even has a newly designated “landslide season”
Honestly, the news is bad all over W. North Carolina – from Boone to Black Mountain. And the problem will only get worse. With climate change and shifting weather patterns, damage from heavy rains will become more unpredictable and destructive in the coming years.
The True Cost of Landslides – in Money and Lives
Because Asheville’s landslide season is only just now ending, it’s too soon to give accurate property damage assessments. But here are some national statistics that illustrate how destructive landslides truly are:
- annual monetary losses (property damage, roads, etc.) range between $2 billion and $4 billion
- as many as 50 people are killed in the US every year from landslides
- the most expensive landslide repairs in US history were in Thistle, Utah (1984). Adjusted for inflation, the cleanup efforts cost $400 million in 2010 dollars.
Protecting Yourself and Your Property from Landslides
The news is bad. And as climate change, heavy rain, and soil erosion all become worse, you can expect the number of landslides to increase… and become more unpredictable.
So what steps can you take to protect yourself?
Well – obviously, stay abreast of weather reports and avoid areas that have recently experienced heavier than normal rain.
But what about your home or business? It’s one thing to remove yourself from harm’s way, but you can’t really relocate existing structures.
Honestly, there aren’t many steps you can take to completely shield your home or business from sliding debris.
You can, however, reinforce your property’s foundation – even in areas where soil erosion is a major problem. By strengthening the underlying support, you can limit the damage that future landslides pose to your residential or commercial property.