Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Garage Drainage Problem

It has been about two weeks since I last posted (thank you grad school...).

One of the spring break posts that I left off was the work that we did in order to address the flooding issue in the garage. Basically, every time it rained hard, water would make its way into the garage and puddle at the low spots in the concrete pad. Part of it appeared to be coming through the south wall where there was not much of a slope on the outside. Water could just puddle up next to the footing and seep through the siding. Part of the water was able to make it close enough to the corner of the garage door where the slope of the concrete pad unfortunately faced into the garage. There was also a little bit of water making it through at the south-west corner.

I originally thought the major flooding was coming in under the garage door and felt that the best solution was a drainage trough with a grate running across the top to allow cars to drive over. This would run about $300 for a DIY job but would require renting a concrete saw, 10 bags of Quikrete and a bunch of carefully made forms to set the trough shape. The other $150 or so would be spent on the plastic grate material (which is surprisingly expensive, even simple metal grating is expensive).

After discussing the water issue, we felt that more of the water contribution was actually due to the water puddling at the corner and along the south wall. We decided to slope the ground down and away from the foundation almost like a "U-shape". The neighbor's yard already formed half of the "U" as it met my side area. My DIY landscaping book suggests an 1" drop for every foot for the eight feet immediately adjacent to he foundation.

We also had to move the water coming from the gutters since the down spout brought about 1/4 of the water that landed on the roof. The idea was to use the black corrugated pipe to move the water around to the backyard. I kept pushing the french drain design but and bought 3 ten foot sections of the slitted corrugated pipe. After realizing that I had not purchased enough and that, since our "U" channel would effectively move all the run-off water to the backyard and down to the city drainage, I bought a 100' roll of the solid black corrugated pipe that we would bury the entire length. We buried the pipe about 12" deep and shot for a 1" drop every 24". Needless to say, the trench became very deep by the time we hit the backyard fence. I don't have Annie's camera at school with me right now so I will edit this post tomorrow morning and add the photos that we took. I will also include the list of purchased items and the total bill.

One thing that I have in mind for the roof water is to capture the back half of the house's rain water in a pair of 55 gallon barrels (now marketed as rain barrels if you want to pay $100 or more). I want to tie these two barrels together (even though the distance between the two is pretty crazy) and use a pump tied to a sensor switch and a battery to water our vegetable garden and plants around the perimeter of the house. The best part is that I want to run the battery/pump system with a small set of solar panels mounted at the south east end of the house. I can't guarantee that the rain in the summer will be enough to keep the entire system off-the-county-water-grid, but it should do quite well for the rest of the year.

I'll update this post with photos and play catch up with the rest of the work that has happened over the last two weeks soon.


  1. Clear drains are one of those things that everyone takes for granted. That is, until they stop working. Many people can relate to having a personal pet peeve of slow-draining bathtubs.

    blocked drains sydney

  2. Any updates on your drainage problem? I think it is good that you are doing some DIY repairs on your garage drainage problems. But if the problem persists, a call for a professional fix is in order. [Althea Tumlin]

  3. The garage drainage/leak problem has pretty much been solved! We just have to stay on top of emptying the gutter that has a tendency to overflow in front of the garage. Heavy leaves cause it to sag and just spill over directly in front of the garage door. We installed a rubber threshold under the door, and the french drain has been working very well. We haven't had water in the garage for a long time.

  4. @Annie: I’m glad that the problem was solved! Now that you know what’s causing the leak, you should already do something to prevent the leaves from accumulating there. It looks like you did an amazing job! Congrats!

    -Darryl Iorio