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Can Water Crack A Driveway?

So, really, can water crack a driveway?

Yes.  And water can create the Grand Canyon.  Both of those things are true if the same thing happens over and over for long enough.

This is the driveway in question.

I saw the problem as soon as I pulled up to the house.

Why is the driveway cracking only on one side, and toward the garage and house?

The short answer - water.

But from where?

Why would water cause settlement to happen in only one area?

Looking at the entire house the answer comes alive.

The downspout on the front corner of the house had been altered.  By whom I don't know, but altered.

Where it used to discharge at the front corner of the house, where it could have been extended away from the house, it was changed to discharge directly into the gutter.

Not only was that too much water going into one small space in one small gutter, there was a large tree overhanging the front of the house.

The gutter was obviously full of debris because at the point where the downspout hits that gutter it was completely blocked and clogged.

Water was overflowing, and apparently had been for some time.

Where the overflow water hits and has been hitting is quite obvious.

Given enough time that will erode the soil, and weaken the edge and corner of the driveway.  And that had been happening!

Obviously eroding soil will have an effect on everything nearby.  Even the conduit for the front yard light junction box was settling and had pulled away from the box, exposing the wire.

My recommendation:  water affects everything!  It must be controlled.  It must be directly properly.  It must have sufficient capture and discharge tubing (gutters and downspouts in this case) and be free to deal with the amount of water that can happen.  And all of that will work together for the good of a property, and not the detriment.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 10 commentsJay Markanich • August 10 2016 02:31AM

Comments

Yes, water does a lot damage.  Ice can make a big mess too.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 3 years ago

Both are water in different forms, but do damage nonetheless, Debbie.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. It always amazes me that people think a small gutter can handle a big roof! Why? Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 3 years ago

I did a final on new construction yesterday, the builder superintendant was tagging along. There was a kickout flashing on the roof that channeled water right over a wood framed, stuccoed chimney. I asked him if he knew the water runoff would ruin that stucco and framing... he said yes. I looked at him and said, and you won't put a gutter here? Nope!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 3 years ago

Wayne - sooner or later common sense has to take over.  But as to fluid dynamics, perhaps the formulas are too hard to understand!

Fred - one might say, "Hmmmmm..." with a crinkled brow and wondering eye.  I wonder what the Hammurabi Code would say about that!  Kill the builder if a chimney should rot!  (That was one tough code book!)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Raking leaves and cleaning gutters was a passion of mine as a kid. I mean it was one of my chores and I easily saw the damage that could have resulted.

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) about 3 years ago

That amazing.  I would never have guessed water could do that much damage over time.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 3 years ago

I hated raking as a kid, Kevin!  I mowed the leaves with the lawn mower.  Still do!

Of course it can, Stephen!  All rivers are carved out trenches, including the Grand Canyon.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Whether it is roof, gutters, downspout, foundation...the water thing is a baaad thing....control, re-route....maintain....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 3 years ago

But that's so much work S&D!  Water will always be a house killer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

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