Engineered Drainage Solutions to Drainage Problems

Drainage solutions are a specialty of Olathe based Hometown Lawn dba Hometown, a drainage contractor. Types of residential and commercial drainage problems include: water in the basement, or on-slab, full window wells, wet and soggy yards, dead grass and so on. Hometown offers an in-house licensed engineer for advanced drainage problems at no extra charge. Contrary to popular belief, the answer is not always a french drain. The ability to offer an on-staff engineer goes unmatched in the regional drainage contractor game. We’ll discuss scenarios and research the probable causes. Finally offering our proposed drainage solution and it’s reasonable expectations associated with the action.

Hometown – Drainage Contractor, service areas include: Kansas City, Leawood, Lenexa, Louisburg, Overland Park, Olathe, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee Mission, Stanley, Stilwell, Spring Hill.

How to Identify Potential Drainage Problems

Drainage problems should be taken seriously. Water can cause expensive damage if ignored. Basement flooding and foundation failure are two main issues. If you have had water in your basement, more times than not, the source is the roof. Check the gutters when it’s raining to see if you witness over-topping. Water needs to stay in the gutters, then to the downspouts, then out and away from the foundation. A walk around your home looking for a few key clues can let you know if you are a potential victim of any of these drainage problems.

What to look for:


Splash blocks are concrete runways at the end of each downspout around your home. If you have them at every downspout, do you see anything that doesn’t look quite right? It should be aimed so the end at the house is higher than the end away from the house. If not, it’s called “negative drainage”. Negative drainage is always a bad thing. The splash block’s key function is to dissipate energy at the downspout outlet. Without them, you will see erosion and have the potential for water to settle back to the foundation.

How far should a downspout extend from a house?

We recommend a minimum distance be greater than 5 feet and greater than 10 feet is ideal. At these distances, it becomes unlikely for water to be able to return to the foundation wall. The way this distance is achieved may vary. It may be possible to use above-ground extensions and splash blocks, or underground piping may be required for easier lawn maintenance.


Whilst on your walkabout, take note of the ground at the foundation. Can you see a paint line? That line is where the ground was when your home was last painted. Any gap between the paint line and the ground, can disclose a settlement issue. There are several reasons this may occur, but it is not a good thing to let go unchecked. This can be a problem for homes of any age.

Water not able to flow away from a foundation can cause ground settlement eventually possible foundation damage.
Evident paintline on foundation. Indicator ground has settled the distance from paintline to ground since last home painting.
What is the recommended slope for drainage away from the foundation wall of a house?

The recommended guideline from home inspectors is 6 inches over 6 feet – perpendicular to the foundation wall. So, six-feet from the foundation you should be six-inches lower. This too can vary. If you have a severely sloped side-yard, then you likely fall away much faster, and a perpendicular slope is not of concern.

Standing Water or Soggy Yard

Does your yard pond or puddle? Do you sink into the ground or can’t walk in some places? Is there standing water in your yard 48 hours or more after it last rained? This is a drainage problem needing a drainage solution. Standing water that goes away before the 48 hour time is considered normal. However, it can be addressed as a preferential fix. If you have standing water 2 days after the end of a storm, your yard has a drainage problem that needs to be addressed. To name a few, the effects can be a muddy mess that won’t grow grass, can cause foundation damage and even allow for pets to track mud back into the house.

How do I maintain buried downspout piping?

Out of sight, out of mind. NO! Just because you have buried your downspouts doesn’t mean you can forget about them. Buried drainage solutions require maintenance. In the Spring and in the Fall, we suggest flushing them with a garden hose to be sure they aren’t clogged. Water In = Water Out. Frequently check the outlets are open and uncovered. We recommend checking them every time you mow. If you have spring loaded pop-ups, verify it can still open. Also, vermin can take up shelter in these underground oasis, so it is important to flush any nests or leaf blockage allowing for proper drainage. A constant flow of water in should also warrant a constant flow of water out. If you don’t see the water in, come out… then you have a broken pipe, or clog, that should be addressed. Often times, if this is the case, it is better to replace the entire buried section.

Gutter Over-Topping

This means the water isn’t traveling within the gutters to the downspouts and is just flowing its way over the gutter lip and directly to the ground. Key indicators of gutter over-topping is dirty outside gutters. You will actually see water marks on the outside of the gutter. This indicator is from the dirt / debris on the roof. It is carried in the water as it travels over the edge. To remedy, you can install wider gutters and/or larger downspouts. Also make sure they are clean and unobstructed. Should you see water flowing over in a roof valley it may need a splash shield at that location.

Not clearing gutters and downspouts will cause overtopping.
Debris and lines are indicators of water over-topping gutters.

Buried Downspouts

Pictured here is our standard how we install our buried downspouts vs someone else. Using our method, it’s much less possible to have a parts separation above grade. Our pipe materials are installed to stay where they belong. Black corrugated pipe is not to be used above the ground, nor should it be formed to angle without the use of an elbow.

Improperly installed and improperly used materials shorten the functional life of buried downspouts. These are incorrect materials in incorrect locations.
Improper Downspout Connection – Separated
Using proper materials in their proper location is vital to a long-life and function in connecting buried downspouts.
Properly Installed Downspout Connection

Selling a Home That Has Had Water In It?

Real Estate Agents this is for you! Do you have a listing that had water in the basement? We have help for you. We offer drainage solutions no one else can. A Letter of Action (LOA). Our design/build drainage solutions are available to option our LOA. The Letter of Action is a statement that describes our implemented solution for the reported problem. Our licensed engineer will then sign the LOA. Talk about a disclosure statement safety net! Who else can offer that? You would have to hire an engineer AND contractor. Not with us, it’s all here.