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How a drainage system works in a new house

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


January 27, 2019 - Karl Yeh

"You have your roof and obviously it drains into a down or gutters, or eavesdrop and then it goes into downspouts and then goes down into the yard. Then it has to be tied into grating into the yard so depending on if you're on a hill or you're flat, you might have to put certain change the topography of the land to move the water off." 

In this episode, we discuss what first time homebuyer's need to know about their new home's drainage system including how it works and how it's built. We also explore potential issues affecting draining such as altered grading. Finally, we also talk about weeping tile and impact on drainage. 


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Hi everyone, Karl Yeh here and welcome to another Homebuyer's School video. A channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts. And remember, if this is your first time on this channel and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification bell so you don't [00:00:30] miss anything.

So today I'm joined by Kurt Gibson, Director of Construction Management with Brookfield Residential, and the topic we're gonna talk about today is new house drainage system. So

What do new homeowners need to know about their drainage system?

Kurt Gibson:                

One of the big misconceptions for a lot of cases for homeowners is the downpipes, and I know a lot of people feel like they'd like to leave their downpipes up because they don't want to trip over them, or whatever else.

Karl Yeh:                       Yep.

Kurt Gibson:                

It's really important, those downpipes are there for a reason. Especially, it can only be a three or four foot downpipe that comes down there but getting [00:01:00] that away from your foundation is critical, I mean most of your settlement is around your foundation of the home.

Plus, also water will go down so the more you can get the water away from surrounding your home, the better you're gonna have. So it's really important that they're making sure that they move those out.

Especially if there's a rainy season coming on, or if there's a thawing season coming up. Make sure those downpipes are moved.

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Karl Yeh:                      

So how does a new drainage system in the new home work, and how is it built?

Kurt Gibson:                

Well I mean most of it's just through, I mean you have your roof and obviously it drains into a down ... or gutters, or eavesdrop we call [00:01:30] it, and then it goes into downspouts and then goes down into the yard.

Then it has to be tied into grating into the yard so you know, depending on if you're on a hill or you're flat, you might have to put certain ...

Change the topography of the land to move the water off, I mean the thing, the whole purpose of it is, is to move water away from your house because obviously the last thing you want is water in your house.

Karl Yeh:                       Yes.

Kurt Gibson:                 Everybody knows what kind of damage that can create, and [00:02:00]

The whole thing has to tie together, all the way from the top of your roof down to the land below you. It has to be moving the water away from your home, that's really the critical part of it so.

Karl Yeh:                      

Now, I know in our previous video when we talked about landscaping, which you can see above

We talked about how it's really maybe not the best idea for you to actually start changing the grade and elevation of your home just because it might impact your neighbors, right?

Kurt Gibson:                 Or your own even for that matter so.

Karl Yeh:                      

So what are some other potential drainage issues that you have seen in the past that have come up?

Kurt Gibson:                

Well, I mean that would be the big one. I mean I think people go to alter their grades, not really [00:02:30] realizing the impact of it or not having the knowledge of it and causes other issues can do it.

But I mean the big thing you don't want is to change the grades and if you were either getting back up in your own yards.

If you have a window well and you're causing negative drainage and it's going in your window well causing water to go in your window or something, you don't want that happening.

And you certainly don't want to be damaging your neighbours property if you can, as other people they'll want to put in sidewalks or change things around to make things funky in their own mind or whatever they want to do.

And you've gotta be careful of that because it can cause [00:03:00] issues and water can be pretty devastating if it's not managed properly.

Karl Yeh:                       No, no that's true.

So what happens if the grade or drainage is altered in a new home?

Kurt Gibson:                

Well again, it really depends.

It's not really supposed to be altered because again when we tie everything together, if you even go one step further which is all the way from your roof down to your yard, it also ties that yard into a sewer system and all of that water has to be taken somewhere.

So if you're manipulating that [00:03:30] you can effect all those different things that can happen.

So I mean the risk is ... people may not think, "Gee, I'm just gonna move this a few inches here or there." But if you cause some drainage issues it can certainly cause issues for yourself, for your neighbors, for the community.

Karl Yeh:                      

Well one question that I've seen around town is what, in terms of weeping tile, and how does that drain?

What exactly is weeping tile and what does it mean when it drains to?

Kurt Gibson:                

Weeping tile's typically put around the foundation, around the footings of the foundation and what it is, it's [00:04:00] usually a plastic or PBC corrugated pipe with holes in it.

What that allows it to do is allows water to get in there but not anything else and it moves water from around the house below grade to a sewage system in some cases.

Or just move it away from the house so that it's not pooling around your foundation so it doesn't cause a negative pool effect.

You got this big opening in your basement, water's trying to drive in, it's actually pushing it away from the house and making sure the water doesn't get into your basement.

Karl Yeh:                       Okay. [00:04:30] Do you have anything else to add?

Kurt Gibson:                

I mean I think the big thing with that is there's also a lot of gravel that gets put under ground, and between the weeping tile and the gravel, again, a lot of that stuff's there to move around. Again, a lot of times people will have ...

We have the weeping tiles tied to our window wells and a lot of times those can fill up with water, you gotta make sure those are kept clean because if you don't keep those clean and they get clogged up, it can start to pool and can come through the windows.

But make sure you're ... again it's regular maintenance and I think the big misconception is a lot of people think that the builder's [00:05:00] should be responsible for doing this. It really is a homeowner maintenance responsibility to take care of that stuff.

Karl Yeh:                       So once that home is transferred to you it's kind of up to you?

Kurt Gibson:                 Yeah, absolutely.

Karl Yeh:                      

And how often would you do that maintenance?

Kurt Gibson:                

I think it's like anything else, if you're doing ... going out and cleaning up the leaves or there's always a spring maintenance and a fall maintenance, I think at the very least you should be doing that. And obviously if there's weather changes.

If there's weather changes you might want to go, if you get a big dump of snow or whatever else, you might want to go and just check to make sure everything's functioning properly.

Karl Yeh:                       Perfect. So my [00:05:30] question for you is: 

Did you have any issues with your drainage when you bought your new home and how did you handle it?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Thank you very much for joining us, and we'll catch you next time.

Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home construction or home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from home buying experts. 

About Kurt Gibson:

Before starting his work career, Kurt Gibson, received Diploma’s from SAIT in Architectural Technology and Building Development Technology. Several years ago Kurt completed the Business Essentials “Mini MBA” from U of C Haskayne School of Business. Kurt has over 30+ years of experience in the Home Building Industry in Calgary and has work for several Builders over that time in all capacities from Sales, Design, Estimating, Construction and Customer Care. He prides himself in having strong leadership skills with coaching backgrounds in both sports and the business world.


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