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Calculating the Importance of Gutters and Drainage

How you can protect your home in Pennsylvania with proper water management of your drainage and gutters.

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Pennsylvania is at high-risk of flooding. Whenever there is persistent rain, Pennsylvanians ready themselves for floods.  

The cities most at-risk are:

  • Pittsburgh
  • Altoona
  • Johnstown

As heavy rains persist, property owners deal with the aftermath of the flooding, including cleanup, mold, and structural issues. Severe flood risks increase with the growing global sea levels. Dealing with the disaster of severe floods can be costly and emotionally draining.

Different types of weather can prompt floods:

  • Torrential rainstorms
  • Snowmelt
  • Coastal flooding 
  • Dam breaks

Comprised of a trio of river basins, the state of Pennsylvania is incredibly flood-prone. Widespread flooding occurs when the land has miles of water. 

Ideally, homeowners will want to prepare for any rainstorms or severe weather ahead of time. 

Flooding Preparations 

  • Talk to your insurance provider for additional coverage.
  • Invest in flood barriers for severe to extreme flooding.
  • Waterproof your basement or crawl space to keep water out.

If you’re ever in danger of a flash flood, go to high ground and always keep a first aid kit nearby. 

How Rainwater Can Affect Your Home

The first catchment area of a home is the roof. Whether you’re dealing with heavy rain or a persistent drizzle, rain runoff collects in the gutters installed on your roof and flows to the ground. Even with proper drainage, the runoff can absorb into the soil, turning into groundwater. 

Once the soil reaches the capacity of how much water it can hold, the ground will become saturated. Saturated soil creates pressure breaks in the basement’s foundation, leading to floods. The best way to protect your home in a high-risk flood zone is to seal and waterproof your basement. 

If you live in a moderate flood zone that gets high precipitation, you should consider professional basement waterproofing. The average precipitation in Pennsylvania exceeds 50 inches per year. 

To visualize how many gallons of rain falls on a relatively small to average-size home, we’ll use the example from the chart below. 

how many gallons of water after rainfall
  • 1” of rain amounts to 997 gallons of water
  • 5” of rain amounts to 4,984 gallons of water
  • 12” of rain amounts to 11,962 gallons of water

When excessive rain becomes flooding, the risk of foundation issues is a possibility. 

Be on the lookout for problem signs when it comes to your foundation: 

  • Bowing walls
  • Cracked walls
  • Sagging floors
  • Collapsing outdoor wall

Water Damage Repairs and What They Will Cost

Avoiding costly repairs can be tricky, especially if you don’t foresee how or when the damage can occur. If you live in even a moderate flood zone, investing in your home is a wise move. Consult a professional to learn about financing options. The cost of safeguarding your home will be significantly lower than paying for repairs later. Increased insurance premiums may also compound the expenses. 

Let’s review how much water damage would cost based on the chart below:

how many gallons of water after rainfall
  • 1” of water would amount to $26,807
  • 1’ of water would amount to $72,163
  • A damaged foundation could cost $105,000

There are certainly other ways you would rather spend your money than on costly repairs. After considering all of the risk factors, the best plan of action is to create a list of an effective water drainage and management system.

Home water management considerations: 

  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Width and shape of gutters (K-style or half round)
  • Roof square footage
  • Number of downspouts and extension pipes needed
  • Landscape grading
  • Compact soil near foundation and porous soil away from foundation
  • Rain-harvesting accessories to collect rainwater
  • Sump pumps
  • Water barriers for extreme weather

There are budget-friendly ways to implement these tools to protect your home. If your home is furnished with gutters, it’s vital that you clear out debris and leaves so your gutters won’t get clogged and can work effectively. Ultimately, you want to clean your gutters at least twice per year. 

Ensuring your landscaping is properly graded is essential. If your house is on level ground, make sure the soil will absorb water to minimize rain runoff pooling around your foundation. Introducing water-absorbing shrubs to your landscape is another way to soak up the runoff. Water barrels and rain chains will also enhance drainage and help divert water away from your basement. As a bonus, you can reuse the water your rain-harvesting system collected. 

Adding a thin layer of mulch or gravel will help filter the water through the soil so that the soil can gradually absorb the water and reduce the chance of cracks in your foundation. 

With Baker’s Waterproofing, you can get a free professional inspection. Be proactive and protect your home from the notorious floods of Pennsylvania. 

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