The Impact of Poor Drainage on Your Building’s Foundation

One of the most effective things you can do to protect your building’s foundation is to manage the way water is draining on the property. The reality is that the effects of poor drainage can cause structural damage to a structure’s foundation, which compromises the integrity of the whole building. Not only can these issues affect residential homes, but drainage is also important for commercial properties.

The good news is that an effective drainage system is a proactive way to avoid a variety of issues. It’s a good investment to identify and address any drainage issues that you are currently experiencing. Prompt attention to these problems with drainage services in New Jersey will help you avoid costly repairs in the future.

How Poor Drainage Causes Foundation Problems

If you have poor drainage, then it means that excess water can start to accumulate around the foundation. As the water content increases, then it can change the soil – actually weakening the soil around the foundation. Then, the soil starts to shift and uneven settling happens.

There are several ways the foundation can be damaged when this happens:

  • Hydrostatic Pressure: Water around the outside of the foundation can start pushing against the foundation walls.
  • Erosion: Water can cause the soil to wash away from the foundation, which means there is less support to hold the foundation in place.
  • Expansion and Contraction: When the water content in the soil is constantly changing, it can cause the soil to swell and shrink. This soil expansion and contraction can result in foundation cracks.

Every property owner needs to understand the importance of good drainage. If you have drainage issues, then there are serious long-term consequences that can occur – potentially threatening the structural integrity. It’s important to call for drainage services in New Jersey as soon as possible. 

What Poor Drainage Systems Can Do to Your Building’s Foundation

Here are a few ways that your foundation walls might be damaged due to a poor drainage system.

Water Damage 

The foundation materials are weakened when there is prolonged exposure to moisture. You might notice that water starts seeping into the crawl spaces or basement, which could be an indication of structural damage. This water damage and the related drainage issue also increase the potential for wood rot and/or mold growth in the area.

You never want to have standing water (also known as pooling water) around the foundation, because it means that the water will eventually find its way into the building.


Mold spores thrive in environments that are damp and poorly ventilated, such as crawl spaces and basements. If drainage issues are happening that keep the area damp, then mold can start growing in just a few days.

Mold is more than an inconvenience – it can result in serious health consequences. So, it’s critical to not only fix the drainage issues as soon as possible, but also clean up the mold right away. The reality is that effective mold remediation is difficult and expensive, so it’s best to invest in a good drainage system from the beginning to prevent these issues. Call for drainage services in New Jersey for assistance. 


When the moisture content around the foundation is changing and the soil starts to shift, then the foundation also starts shifting and settling. A little settling is normal and planned for in the building design. However, excess soil moisture causes more shifting than expected, and it will start leading to cracks in the floors and walls of the foundation.

In the beginning, the cracks are small and might seem inconsequential. But, over time, and with continued drainage problems, the cracks will worsen. Eventually, these cracks are severe enough that they compromise the stability of the building.

Additional problems can start to occur when the cracks get big enough to leak water into the building – which exacerbates the damage both inside and out.

Soil Erosion or Expansion

When the foundation was poured, the excavation team was proactive about forming the soil to offer extra support for the foundation. But if there is poor drainage, then the extra water can wash away the soil that supports the foundation. This issue results in voids, causing instability overall.

Also, certain soil types can expand when it’s wet, which puts pressure on the foundation. For example, if your home sits upon soil that contains clay, then this is an issue that you need to prevent.

Any time the soil changes, it can cause the foundation to heave and crack, which can eventually lead to a collapse.

Protect Your Foundation With the Right Drainage System

Keep in mind that foundation repair is very expensive. Once the damage is done, then you will have a costly project that must be completed to save your home. Don’t wait! A proactive approach with drainage services in New Jersey is much more affordable, and will save you a lot of stress in the future.

With the right drainage system, it’s possible to avoid this type of foundation damage. For more information about these services, contact our experienced team at Mikula Contracting. We are here to help with both residential and commercial drainage systems.

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