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Heavy Spring thaw, and what that means for you as a homeowner.

This spring, much like last year, is a very late start. We have a lot of snow on the ground still, while also starting to approach a season of warmer temperatures. What this means to the homeowners, is there is going to be a heavy and fast thaw. We will see more amounts of water than normal, and we will see it in places it may not have been before.

Now is a good time to take a walk around the perimeter of your home, to ensure you are not sustaining any potential water damage from inverse grading, or water that is melting, and is sitting at the foundation, with no way to escape.

Often, drainage problems are easily fixed with simple regrading of the property. Adding swales, ditch lines, or general sloping of the property away from the home at a 2% or greater, will fix the majority of water problems we have in the Valley.

What does 2% drainage mean?

In the construction industry, 2% is what is considered to be "perfect drainage". This means, that over 100 ft, the ground would need to fall 2ft total to achieve perfect drainage.

As an example: Our roads are always built at a 2%, sloping toward the ditch from the yellow centerline. Roads can be 10 feet wide in a lane, and this makes the total fall 2 tenths, or 1.6 inches from center line to the edge of the road. This ensures there will no be standing water on the road.

Other forms of quelling water issues would be the use of culverts, or french drains. Culverts are often used at the end of your driveway, and in the Valley, the borough determines which properties are required to have one.

French drains are well known, but not a popular form of drainage that we personally would recommend. Often, here in Alaska our water issues come in the spring time, and as we know, our ground is still frozen. Having a drain underground may or may not help you in a time like that. Having a natural drainage path on top of the ground, where the sun will hit and help the melting process, is going to do you the most favors. Water always takes the path of least resistance, and we want that path to be away from your home, driveway, and other usable areas of your property.

That being said, french drains do have their place, and are useful in situations where a surface grade change is not an option

As things keep thawing, take a look around your property and see if you have pools, or areas that are unable to drain. Give us a call with any questions you may have, to set up an estimate, or just to get ideas on what you may need to fix your water issues. We are always happy to help!

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