Allowing water to collect under your home is a big mistake. To make the problems worse, water in a crawlspace or basement is almost never a ‘quick-fix’ situation, but easy moisture prevention may start where you least expect it, the roof. Around the perimeter of every roof should be a gutter system. Gutters do more than just keep you from getting dripped on. Their real purpose is to divert water away from the foundation of the house. They perform other tasks as well, such as preventing soil erosion, but keeping water from building up around your foundation is critical to keeping your home in one piece. Without gutters, your roof acts like a giant rain collector, funneling water straight to the sides of your home. If allowed to saturate the ground around your home, water can build up and seep in through your foundation’s cold joints and eventually build up under your home. Additional problems can ensue when winter rolls around and the water that collects around your foundation freezes and cracks the concrete.
Adding gutters may be as simple as phone call or a trip to the hardware store. Every gutter should have some basic elements: Gutter, supports, and downspouts. Each plays its own role. The gutter portion collects the water at the edge of the roof; the downspouts carry the water from the gutter to the ground and away from the house (drainage); and finally, the supports keep the gutter firmly in place when it’s holding hundreds of pounds of water.
The pieces that make up these assemblies are inexpensive in most cases. For instance, a ten foot section of vinyl gutters generally runs in the $5 range. The other pieces of gutter assembly do add up, but they are all cheaper than a cracked foundation or a mold problem.
If you’re not sure how to set up your gutter system, check your local building codes, or visit a hardware store and look at the resources they have available.
Unfortunately most people will not add gutters to their home unless they have a problem with drainage under their home. If you do find water buildup or flooding in your basement or crawlspace, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Get a few free estimates, and get the information you need to make an informed decision.