Drain Designs – Bringing Back the Lost Art of Drainage

Drain Designs – Bringing Back the Lost Art of Drainage

For thousands of years, drainage has been one of the most important aspects of the Building Trades. in the greatest civilizations of the past nearly 30% of the effort and resources were focused on drainage.  (see https://ancientengrtech.wisc.edu/machu-picchu/machu-picchu-water-management/). Our goal at Drain Designs, LLC is to preserve the American Dream through drainage education and innovations. Smarter drainage systems can prevent our homes, buildings and properties from depreciating faster than we can pay them off. I have been hands-on researching drainage problems and solutions for over 30 years. Now through Drain Designs Franchising and The American Drain Company, LLC, we’re adding to our team of top drainage experts.


Our economic and environmental future depends on smarter building in terms of rainwater management.   Water problems are a major cause of home and property depreciation as well as builder warranty call backs (see https://www.houzz.com/discussions/3042319/drainage-issue-newly-built-home) (see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crucial-role-drainage-asset-maintenance-its-cost-benefits-clowery/).  

On Average, roughly 200 gallons per downspout, per inch of rain, dumps roof water down around the foundat

ions..  Look closely and you will see cracks at nearly all downspouts around our 20-30 year old homes and mold growing on the floor joists, heavier near the wettest walls.  

Smart drainage and waterproofing systems should last a lifetime and require very little maintenance.  Most homes either have no drainage system to carry the water away or corrugated pipe that collapses or backs up over time (often in as little as a few years).  We need to spread the news that high grade, smooth wall PVC pipe is the best – the only way to go (see – https://homefixated.com/corrugated-vs-pvc-pipe-landscape-drains/).  

Even if there is no standing water in the basement or crawl space, water can lay unseen in the concrete block leaching out and saturating the base of the homes’ footings.  By the time we see standing water in crawl spaces or near basements walls, there may be several inches sitting in the block, below grade, or stagnant in the foundation drain system.  Building code prohibits building on soft/ unstable soil but once inspections are over, inadequate, unmaintained drainage systems cause Homes to sit on soft, wet soil causing costly damage and unhealthy conditions. 

Rainwater and home preservation through better drainage is our passion.  We are the drainage specialists. My companies, Drain Designs LLC (Drainage and Waterproofing service/ installation, see draindesigns.com), The American Drain Company, LLC (world’s best drainage products, see americandrain.com), and Drain Designs Franchising LLC (Working with the best drainage teams in the world! see draindesignsfranchising.com) specialize in designing, testing and installing drainage systems as well as developing and manufacturing drainage products built to last a lifetime. 

Through my 30 years of performing structural repairs to masonry and foundations and installing drainage systems to prevent further damage, I have been amazed at how few drainage resources there are. Try to find a good drainage book online and you’ll see what I mean.  You’ll be lucky to find “drainage” in the index of most home improvement books and even building code books. Building code books are the Instruction manuals for the builders. Unfortunately, they contain very little guidance when it comes to Drainage and Waterproofing. These systems are rarely given much time during Home Inspection processes by the building inspectors. This is due to building codes being largely influenced by insurance companies. The insurance companies are more concerned with safety of the structure and consider drainage to be the homeowner’s responsibility. According to the following article, water damage accounts for 29% of all insurance claims by homeowners. (see – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/homeowners-insurance/water-damage/ )

A home drainage system costs far less than the problems it can prevent. The key to keeping a home healthy long term is installing and maintaining a good drainage system as soon as possible, ideally during construction. By the time people call us, they often have structural problems, cracked/ uneven driveways, wet-moldy crawl spaces or basements, unusable yard space, termites/ mosquitoes/ other pests, dying trees and bushes, etc. caused by poor, expired or non-existent drainage systems. A drainage system that would have cost $4000 during the initial building of the home now costs $14,000 plus the costs related to the water damage that prompted customers to call us in the first place. This is due to the extra work involved such as having to cut through concrete, work around irrigation lines, dig around dangerous power and gas lines, communication lines, etc. 

A 2500 sq ft roof produces about ~1500 gallons of runoff per inch of rain. That’s 30 full rain barrels worth per inch of rain, ~200 gallons per downspout – and we often get 2 – 3 inches at a time.  This is not counting additional run-off from all the other hard surfaces such as roads, driveways, other paved surfaces, neighboring properties, bare/ packed soil or gravel, etc. This runoff carries harmful nitrogen, lawn chemicals, pet waste, etc. into our drinking water sources.  

What are Smart Home Drainage Systems? 

 -They begin with proper management of hard surface runoff (roofs, driveways, etc.) such as quality gutter systems that are sized properly and keep the gutters from clogging. Oversized downspouts (3×4”, not the 2×3” builder specials) should empty into smooth walled PVC underground pipe systems designed to carry water away from the foundation and off of the landscaped property. Smart drainage systems keep run-off from driveways and patios from running over landscaped property with surface drains such as trough drains and American Drains (see Americandrain.com.  American Drains are a replacement for the outdated French drain systems).

-Drainage systems should require very little maintenance and should be built to last a lifetime. A smooth walled PVC underground pipe system, when installed properly, is virtually self-cleaning, does not clog or hold standing water and will easily last for 100 years with minimal maintenance. They should be equipped with easy access clean-outs at the top end of each drain.  If you dump a bucket of water in, you should see that water come out the other end.

-When possible, they should enable water to be stored for uses like irrigation, grey water systems, etc.

-They promote even ground saturation which promotes even settling. They will enable the permeable surfaces to more easily deal with the rain that falls directly on the property.  

-They do not consist of corrugated pipes. Corrugated pipes are commonly used in our area – and in our opinion, they are for temporary, above ground use only.  They hold standing water and silt allowing mosquitoes to breed and seeds to root and clog the pipes. Water standing in corrugated pipe attracts roots which grow through the loose, leaky fittings and into the pipe causing clogging, often in just a few years’ time.  The yard must then be retrenched so the pipe can be replaced since corrugated pipe is not strong enough to handle mechanical root removal equipment.  

This is just a bit of the information we have collected over the years.  Most of the problems we are seeing today are easily preventable. The first step is to educate builders and property owners about the importance of proper drainage. 

Our team is working hard to lead the drainage industry by example, promoting better drainage practices and encouraging builders and officials to do the right thing – do it right the first time. Drain Designs Systems can double the healthy life of your home while protecting our environment, health and our economic future. Please contact us so we can help you assess and understand your unique drainage and how it might be improved.



Drain Designs