Advice and tips on how to protect your house foundation in case of heavy rainfall, according to Bisson Expert.

In Quebec, we never know how summer will turn out. Some years are marked by significant variations in temperature and times of drought punctuated by torrential downpours. Such atypical climate conditions are always problematic for properties because they are thereby exposed to more risks: problems with a clogged French drain, water infiltration in the foundation and inadequate drainage system.

Consequently, many property owners have questions about the best way to prevent damages and efficiently drain the water. Here are some prevention methods and appropriate solutions according to Bisson Expert, the foundation specialist.

What risks is your foundation exposed to during heavy rainfall?

Heavy and repetitive precipitations can cause damage to properties. The number of service calls for water infiltration in the foundation was definitely higher, largely due to these particular climate conditions. Hence, houses that had never had problems started to show signs of water infiltration while other houses saw their existing problems increase and grow because of the heavy rainfall.

The latter has therefore led to scenarios conducive to problems :

• Water infiltrated through cracks at the bottom of the foundation, thereby causing damage.
• The water drainage system is insufficient during very heavy rainfall.
• The French drain is defective or non-existent.

To prevent such situations, we recommend paying close attention to the warning signs of water infiltration. Cracks, white spots at the bottom of the walls are some of the warning signs. For more information, click on this link :

If you see some of these warning signs, contact without delay a foundation expert who will assess the scope of the problems and recommend solutions.

As prevention is always better than cure, here are some things you can do to protect your foundation from torrential rains.

What can you do to protect your foundation in case of heavy rainfall?

First of all, keep in mind that a French drain is not the only solution for protecting your foundation from torrential rains. Some modifications will help to evacuate excess water and prevent potential water infiltration.

Here are just a few :

1. Have positive slopes :

Make sure you have positive slopes that drain surface water away from the foundation. These will prevent surplus water from adversely affecting the foundation and its waterproofness. Conversely, negative slopes will move the water towards the foundation. In case of very heavy rainfall, water could infiltrate the foundation and adversely affect its integrity. Worse still, the concrete could absorb the water, which would cause severe damages to the foundation.

2. Properly locate the flower beds :

It is best to move the flower beds away from the foundation. In fact, flower beds are usually filled with topsoil that is renowned for its capacity to absorb the water that the plants need. However, flower beds located near the foundation will repetitively accumulate water during a rainfall or plant watering and form water puddles during torrential rains. These water puddles and accumulations will end up adversely affecting the waterproofness and integrity of the foundation depending on the quality and age of the original structure.

To prevent such situations, you can raise the slope of the terrain near the foundation and ideally not install any flower beds on the side of the foundation that is most exposed to bad weather. If a major problem arises, contact an expert who will install a waterproofing membrane on your foundation.

3. Check the rain gutters :

Ideally, gutter downspouts must be located away from the foundation by at least 4 feet to properly evacuate the roof water away from the foundation. When gutter downspouts are installed closer to the foundation, there is a risk of water accumulating near the foundation. If this is the case, installing an extension pipe to the gutter downspout is the solution to ensure the proper surface drainage.

4. Pay close attention to the plants :

Some plants are known to have very deep roots, and these roots often clog the French drains. These roots, to some extent, “attack” the drains to get to the water that is inside them. To prevent this risk, check the plants that are located around your property.

5. Protect an aging foundation :

Depending on the age of the building, you may need to make some adjustments. First of all, be aware that an older foundation will crumble faster depending on the quality of the construction. In such cases, installing a waterproof membrane will help to better protect the concrete from premature crumbling and extend its service life.

If you notice that your foundation is crumbling and want more information, read our article.

6. Analyze the environment

Some ecosystems are more conducive to water infiltration. For example, if your house is built in an area like a forest ecosystem, near a watercourse or wetland, you could face additional water infiltration problems. To find out if your property is at risk, contact Bisson Expert.

What potential solutions are available to protect the foundation?

If torrential rains have caused damage to your property, there are some solutions. A foundation expert, like Bisson Expert, can guide you to the appropriate solution. Sometimes, less costly solutions can be looked at before opting for the installation or replacement of a French drain.

Regardless of the situation, bear in mind that an expert will recommend the best solution for your property among the following :

1. Replace or install an appropriate drainage system : A foundation expert can either install a drainage system or replace a drainage system that lacked the capacity to evacuate an abundant quantity of water.

2. Modify the drainage system : It is possible to improve a drainage system so that it can eliminate surplus water and prevent water infiltration into the building.

3. Install a membrane : This solution is recommended for waterproofing the foundation. It is mainly used when the foundation concrete starts to crumble or show signs of major efflorescence problems.

What should you know about heavy rainfall and your foundation?

With changing climate conditions such as those in the recent years, properties are exposed to unusual weather conditions. Preventing damage by acting quickly is the best advice for protecting your foundation from torrential rains. Keep in mind that there are solutions and that our foundation experts can guide you and provide you with the best advice to help you protect your property for as long as possible, regardless of the challenges imposed on us by the Quebec climate.

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