Understanding Your Drainage System

Drainage system
Your roof is the beginning of your home drainage system.

When you think of your home drainage system, your mind may drift to plumbing. While your home plumbing is an important part of your home’s support systems, your exterior drainage system is just as critical. From your roof to your downspouts, your exterior drainage system works together to protect your building envelope, building interior, and landscaping.

What Do You Need to Protect?

You know that your roof is there to protect the interior of your home, but what exactly are you protecting? Your home drainage system is there to protect:

  • The areas immediately underneath your roof, such as your attic. Hidden water can seep through holes in the roof and into your attic. This can reduce the effectiveness of your insulation, and it can also cause problems such as mold growth over time.
  • The interior of your home. If leaks are severe, they can come through your ceiling into your home, causing damage to ceilings, walls, and even furniture and flooring.
  • The areas that connect your roof and gutters, such as the fascia boards. Gutter and roof problems can damage the structures that protect your home and support your drainage system.
  • Your siding. Clogged gutters can overflow down your siding, leading to color changes, structural changes, and moss, mold, and algae growth. A well-functioning drainage system will protect your siding and send water away rather than sending it down the side of the building.
  • The foundation. Water that overflows off the roof and gutters can land next to your building, causing the soil to saturate and shift. Over time, shifting, wet soil leads to problems with your home foundation. Your foundation could crack, leading to water leaks in your basement.
  • Your landscaping. The landscaping around your home relies on your drainage system to keep the environment consistent. If water suddenly starts to cascade off of the side of your building, this can cause erosion and drown your flower beds.

The Roof is the First Line of Defense

Your roof is the first line of defense against water ingress into your home. Its is a large space that has the ability to collect water for rain barrels and other rainwater storage devices. The roof collects a tremendous amount of water, and its job is to move this water efficiently from roof to gutter. Even flat roofs need to drain water so that they don’t have standing puddles.

Roofs form a barrier between your interior and the elements. They do this through shingles that are made out of everything from asphalt to tile.
The roof also has a layer of felt or other product underneath the shingles so that water does not seep into the area under the roof.

Your roof can be at risk if it gets damaged in a storm. If there is serious damage, you may need a roof replacement or large repair. Branches can cause this kind of damage to your roof system, puncturing shingles and the layer underneath. Your roof can also experience problems if water pools or backs up on it, especially if it freezes and then thaws underneath the shingles. This can lead to leaks.

Drainage system
Check your gutters and downspouts for blockages.

Gutters Move Water Efficiently

On an ideal day, your gutters are a critical part of your home drainage system. They move water from the roof and into the downspouts. Gutters attach to the roof and act as a simple trough that’s moves water toward the drains at a gentle angle.

Troubles occur in your gutters when they fill up with debris. This can happen after a storm or simply during seasonal events when leaves and blossoms fill up gutters. The amount of cleaning you need to do depends on the surrounding environment, which determines the amount of debris that lands in your gutters.

To protect your gutters, you can use gutter products such as gutter covers and gutter heating systems. Gutter covers go over your gutters and act as a barrier to debris. They may remove debris with a screen or a piece of foam. Some gutter covers allow water to move into the gutter while sending debris off the edge. These nose-forward, surface tension-based systems are simple to maintain.

If your home is in an area that experiences a lot of snow and ice in the winter, your gutters can get clogged by ice as well. A gutter heating system can help keep the water in your gutters moving easily throughout the winter months.

Downspouts Help Water Move Away From the Home

Your downspouts are the culmination of your home drainage systems. There is usually one downspout for every 40 feet of gutter. Like your gutters, they’re attached to your home. A drain can also get clogged, and adding gutter covers to your gutters can help prevent debris from entering the downspout. If there is a severe clog, you may need to take the downspout apart to prevent it from backing up.

At the end of the downspout, water enters the garden or another underground drainage system. Downspouts that enter the garden curve at the bottom and have a splash guard to send water out into the garden rather than toward the home foundation. As you inspect your home drainage system, always make sure that your downspouts are sending water away from your home.

At Harry Helmet, we’re here to protect your drainage system from top to bottom, starting with your roof. We’ll help your roof, your gutters, and your drains work together to remove water that could damage your home and landscaping. Whether you’re looking for gutter covers or a full roof replacement, contact Harry Helmet today to learn more about roofing and gutter guards and schedule an appointment for your home.

Written by Del Thebaud

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