5 Drainage Problems That Are A Major Red Flag

When looking at a property to buy, it’s important to watch out for any potential drainage problems. Some drainage problems can indicate something more serious and expensive, so it’s good to know the symptoms. This blog post will discuss five common drainage problems that could catch you off guard!

Standing Water

If it has been raining recently and there are a few puddles around the property, that’s nothing to worry about. But if standing water remains for a long time and doesn’t drain away, that is a cause for concern. It could indicate poor drainage around the house and maybe caused by sloping that is not necessarily visible at first glance.

If water pools like this regularly, how well will the property stand up to heavy rain? When there is nowhere for the water to go, the whole area will likely get flooded. Standing water can cause problems like mould and mildew, and it can also lead to the growth of mosquitoes and other insects. Large pools of stagnant water are the perfect breeding ground, so look out for high insect activity to understand how long the water has been standing. Standing water can also seep into the ground, cause problems to the property’s foundations, and create the perfect environment for termites.

If you view a property multiple times and there are always puddles in the same places, be cautious.

evidence of drainage problems on brick wall

Water Backing Up Into The Property

A sign of poor drainage is when you notice water backing up into and under the property. Clogged gutters or downspouts, poor drainage around the house, or even roots from trees can infringe on the drainage system.

All of these issues can lead to severe problems down the road. If you spot water stains, especially in the basement or the kitchen, always ask the owner about them. Once the water starts backing up into the property, it causes dampness and mould throughout and wood rot, which affects the house’s structural integrity. These problems are costly to fix, so be careful.

exposed tree roots can cause drainage problems

Exposed Tree Roots

If you notice exposed tree roots, this could be a sign of poor drainage. Tree roots need water to survive, so they will seek it out wherever possible, moving towards the ground’s surface to find it, if necessary. When your property has poor drainage, the water sits on the surface instead of soaking into the ground. This causes the roots to grow upwards towards the water source and eventually burst through the ground.

Soil erosion also exposes tree roots and most likely after periods of heavy rain as the impact of poor drainage and erosion coincide. Always take note of the roots around any trees on the property if you are concerned about drainage.

Shifting tree roots can do a lot of damage because they pull up sections of the ground and affect the home’s structural integrity if they are close enough to the exterior walls. There is also the chance that they can fall over and damage the house or hurt somebody as they are less stable.

drainage problems sinkhole


If you have problems with the drainage systems in your home, sinkholes can form. Sinkholes form when sewage or other pipes start to leak and the soil under the surface erodes and washes away. Initially, the soil on the surface looks normal, but once a large cavity has formed underneath, it will start to collapse, leaving a giant sinkhole.

It’s important to deal with sinkholes immediately because they can cause a lot of damage and are incredibly dangerous. Sinkholes put people at risk of injury, and if they form close to the property, they can lead to structural damage. The property is not on solid footing if the ground around it starts collapsing and shifting, leading to far more expensive foundation issues. When the underlying cause of a sinkhole isn’t addressed, it will only continue to get bigger.

House Settling

If your property is settling, that’s another sign of drainage issues under the house and other problems like foundation shifting or soil erosion. House settling occurs when there is water under the foundation, which can cause the structure of the home to shift or sink. Water can also get into wall cavities and cause damage, particularly if there are no weep holes to remove the water.

If you see cracks in walls, uneven floors, gaps around door frames, or other signs of movement in your property, there could be water under the house, causing issues with drainage.

Drainage problems may seem minor but can cause costly and stressful problems. Keep an eye out for these issues when you view properties, and most importantly, call Safeguard Inspections to do a thorough inspection that will pick up the problems you can’t see.