- What type of maintenance is required for my new drainage system?
Drainage systems are composed of different products. Our goal is to install the lowest maintenance system available to accomplish the goals required.
Some systems will require zero maintenance. Others may contain products that require very simple maintenance:
Catch basins and channel drains
Blow off the surface grates or otherwise keep them clear from obstructions. Most landscapers can handle this. If the drain grates clog on the surface, pooling should be expected. It is also important to not cover or obstruct the exit of the drain line. Some people cover the end of the pipe at its exit point for one reason or another. Solid debris moves through these systems from the gutters, downspouts, and other collection points. Any covers over the end of the pipe will trap the solid debris.
These require slightly more maintenance to keep the aggregate reasonably clear of sediment and allow water to move into the system. That’s because French drains depend on clear, open aggregate to move water into the pipe. It may be necessary to remove and clear the aggregate from time to time.
- Do you guarantee that your solution will keep water out of my basement or crawlspace?
No. Unfortunately, when making exterior repairs and corrections, it is not possible to make a guarantee or warranty against all possible conditions.
However, please note that the great majority of our customers (better than 90%) confirm a total correction to any and all of their water entry conditions following the installation of our systems. Generally, the exterior repairs we apply should be your first approach to curbing any water entry conditions. They should be installed or applied before more invasive interior collection and removal systems are installed.
Even though our systems are designed to protect against water entry, it is always possible for additional underlying conditions to continue to permit water entry. Deep subsurface veins that move water from a location outside your property lines; dug out basements; builder’s holes/sink holes; wet weather springs; old rotten tree stumps and rootstocks; subsurface rock structures; past grading and reconstruction; or other conditions, could allow water entry after the application of our drainage solution.
- What is the difference between our "exterior drainage systems" and "waterproofing systems?"
Our systems are purposely designed and built to deal with incorrect exterior conditions which encourage water entry.
Water entry is most commonly due to hydrostatic pressure, which is the water pressure caused by the pooling of water or soil saturation against your foundation walls. By dealing with the exterior conditions, our goal is to remove this hydrostatic pressure and pooling before it becomes an issue. In most cases, exterior corrections totally eliminate water entry problems. That’s true regardless of whether there are cracks in the foundation, which are common on most homes.
On the other hand, most waterproofing systems are designed to deal with water only after it has entered the structure. These systems deal with water by cutting the floor inside the basement or digging trenches through the crawlspace. The water is then collected and funneled to a sump pump where it is pumped out. In most cases, these interior waterproofing systems do not provide significant corrections to the exterior conditions that cause water entry in the first place. Sometimes, they can even lead to increased water entry over time by allowing the condition to persist.
For these reasons, exterior conditions should be treated first in an effort to address the real issue. In the unlikely scenario that your structure still has water entry problems following exterior corrections, an interior waterproofing system may be necessary.
- What is the warranty for your drainage systems?
We typically warranty all of our drainage systems for a period of 3 years or more.
This warranty covers the mechanical flow and function of the system only. If a pipe seems to clog or otherwise be obstructed, we will inspect, clear, repair, or replace it as necessary, at our discretion, and at no cost to the homeowner. However, when PVC drain lines are installed properly, you almost never have to worry about this.
We do not in any way warranty against water entry into or through any structure (basements, crawlspaces, etc).
Even though our systems are designed to protect against water entry, it is always possible for there to be additional underlying conditions that continue to permit water entry. You might have a system backup or experience overwhelming conditions outside our control – severe stormwater conditions, local or area flooding, hurricanes, other acts of God and nature, or even the misrepresentation of the issue by the homeowner and/or any other human error, etc. – that lead to drainage system failure or underperformance. We take great care to provide the best product possible to our customers and to balance the above concerns, but we are not able to provide these services if we warranty against any possible scenario. Therefore, we do not warranty against events outside our control. We really appreciate the time you spend with us during our initial consultation, which helps us provide you with the most balanced (volume, cost, impact) proposal for your property.
We do not warranty against Mother Nature.
Our systems are designed based on our opinions, our best experience, and the information gained from meeting with the homeowner. A determination will be made as to the most appropriate pipe size and capacity/volume of the system to balance the function, cost, and impact on the property. It is always possible to have a system backup or for the system to fail due to overwhelming conditions outside our control, including severe stormwater conditions, local or area flooding, hurricanes, other acts of God and nature, or even the misrepresentation of the issue by the homeowner and/or any other human error.
We take great care to provide the best product possible to our customers to balance the above concerns, but we would not be able to provide these services if we were to warranty against any possible scenario. Therefore, we really appreciate the time you spend with us during our initial consultation, which helps us to provide you with the most balanced (volume, cost, impact) proposal for your property.
The warranty does not cover “regular maintenance items.”
Some maintenance is necessary with certain products. If there are catch basins or channel drains present, it is necessary to blow off or otherwise keep the surface grates clear of obstructions. Most landscapers are familiar with this and will simply blow off the surface of any drain grates regularly. If the drain grates are allowed to clog on the surface, pooling should be expected.
It is also important to not clover or obstruct the exit of the drain line. Some people will cover the end of the pipe at its exit point for one reason or another. Solid debris moves through these systems from the gutters and downspouts. Any covers over the end of the pipe will trap this solid debris.
French Drains require a slightly different type of maintenance to keep the aggregate reasonably clear of sediment and debris to allow water to move into the system. That’s because French drains depend on clear, open aggregate to move water into the pipe. It may be necessary to remove and clear this aggregate from time to time.
- Are French drains the best solution to my drainage problem?
French drains can be very effective for collecting and absorbing groundwater under certain conditions. However, the absorption may occur slowly due to the clay soil we have here in New Jersey. In some circumstances, installing French drains may worsen your drainage problem.
French drains also require a bit of maintenance to keep the aggregate clear and functional. This maintenance is hard to perform when the purpose of a French drain is the collection of surface runoff as opposed to subsurface saturation.
You would be best served to have us evaluate the specific circumstances present about your property and make a recommendation, which may or may not involve French drains. We will help you understand why French drains may or may not be the best way to address your situation.
Unless otherwise noted, French drains installed by Lisk Landscape Architecture are constructed of the highest quality materials (real drainage rock, woven filter fabric, perforated PVC pipe) to provide the longest lifespan possible. There are cheap, prefabricated French drain products available that are constructed with very low quality materials. They provide very substandard performance.
- My corrugated piping works when I test it with the garden hose. Why won’t it move water when it rains?
It is mostly impossible to “test” your existing corrugated piping. Testing with a garden hose only sends 4-5 gallons of water per minute (GPM) through the hose. Even if 2 hoses are used, you are only allowing for up to 10 GPM.
During periods of heavy rain, and depending on how many downspouts and other items are connected, it is very likely that a corrugated pipe which “tested clear” with your garden hose will still back up and overflow at your home’s foundation. The volume of rain is substantially greater than the water you used for your test.
A better “test” would be a good visual inspection at the location where the downspout attaches to the corrugated piping after at least several minutes of prolonged heavy rain and before the rain has let up. That way, you can inspect the connection for overflow (water bubbling back up out of the corrugated piping). Water may only back up at the lowest connection point (lowest downspout connected to the system).
- What’s wrong with corrugated piping?
Here in New Jersey, corrugated piping is the most common material for piping downspout water away from homes. It is bumpy in texture and black in color.
Corrugated pipe materials fail over time. They become obstructed with sediment and debris that settle inside the pipe. They also allow roots from even the smallest shrubs and trees to grow through the thin plastic sidewalls and loose fittings.
Corrugated fittings actually leach water into the soil and encourage root growth. They’re even known to collapse underground due to erosion, lawn traffic, or vehicles driving over them. Corrugated piping should be installed on a 25% or better slope to be expected to work reasonably well. Unfortunately, they almost never are. These failures are compounded by poor installation practices.
In contrast, thick wall PVC piping, commonly used in sewer systems, is rigid, slick, and smooth inside. Because of the reduction in friction, PVC moves substantially more water than corrugated piping of the same size, giving the system a much greater capacity.
PVC can function properly on a 1% or greater slope. It effectively moves solid material all the way through the system and out to an exit point when installed properly. The fittings on PVC systems are “solvent welded,” ensuring a watertight fitting. Thanks to their construction, PVC fittings do not encourage root growth into the pipe. Under normal conditions, PVC will not be crushed or be otherwise compromised underground. PVC has an expected lifespan of more than 100 years.
PVC is much harder to install than corrugated piping, but it’s the only option when the long-term integrity of your home and property depends on the quality of your drainage system.
- Am I responsible for locating underground utilities before the job starts?
We can locate all underground utilities prior to the start of the project.
Bear in mind that the Utility Protection Service will not be able to detect any private utilities, including irrigation, low voltage wiring, gas lines connected to grills, auxiliary gas lamps, heaters, and pool-related utilities. It is up to you to let us know whether any of these private utilities are present before we begin the job.
We have the capability to mark most private utilities ourselves when those utilities have tracer wires. Our crews take great care to protect all utilities, but we are not responsible for underground private utilities of which we are not made aware prior to the start of the project.
In most cases, we repair (immediately and on-site) any damage to irrigation systems which we feel was caused at the time of service.
- Will your work destroy my yard or garden?
We do our best to protect the integrity of the landscape around your property. Our goal is to leave it looking just as good – if not better – than it did when we arrived.
Our crews take great care to protect all landscaping, hardscaping, or turf which may be present in our work area. This is a part of our turnkey installation – it’s something that sets us apart from other service providers!
That being said, some disturbance to the land should be expected. We take special care to remove and replace any turf, shrubs, bushes, hardscapes, or landscapes whenever and wherever necessary. However, there is always the possibility of negatively affecting the living landscape. The extent to which we can protect turf and bushes also depends on the condition of those components before we begin.
It is very common for us to remove turf and save it; remove the dirt as needed and save it separately; install all necessary piping; and reinstall the dirt and turf all in the same day. In many cases, you will be able to see where we worked, but the turf and landscape are still in good overall condition and heal quickly.
We are uniquely qualified to provide installations in very challenging areas to provide drainage security for your home.
- How does gutter and downspout maintenance affect drainage?
Consider the size of your roof and the fact that it does not absorb any rain water. Your roof displaces 100% of the water that lands on it! This water is usually discharged from downspouts right at the foundation of the structure. If downspouts are obstructed, the entire gutter will overflow in areas right against your foundation. You experience the same result when downspout drain lines are clogged and the water discharges into the backfill against your foundation walls.
Roof, gutter, and downspout water is often the primary contributor to hydrostatic pressure and therefore the leading cause of water entry into a basement or crawlspace. It also encourages humid or moldy conditions inside of homes.
In many cases, a properly functioning gutter system with downspout drain lines that dependably discharge the water away from the structure is the best (and first!) line of defense against water damage, water entry, or foundation issues.
We are uniquely qualified to provide solutions for issues associated with gutters, gutter covers, overflowing valleys, downspouts, and downspout drain lines.
- Can my landscaper plant or install hardscapes in the areas where my drainage system was installed?
Your landscaper will need to consider the way water flows through the property. You do not want to alter the way water flows by changing the grade, planting, or installing hardscapes in a way that will move the water away from the system.
We cannot be responsible for alterations that change the way our system was designed to function. However, we will be happy to help make any changes needed to adapt our existing system to your new landscape or hardscape plan. There may be a fee associated with these changes.
- Do you perform interior as well as exterior drainage work?
Our primary focus is keeping water away from your house from the outside. In most cases, water that contributes to water intrusion can be diverted away from the house using exterior solutions.
However, we may install or service some interior systems, especially when we are already involved in a working relationship with the property owner from some other service.
- How often should I mulch the beds in my yard?
It is recommended to properly mulch every 6 months to help prevent soil erosion. Be sure to apply at least 3 to 4 inches of mulching spread.
- Is my warranty transferable to the new homeowner if I choose to sell my house?
Warrantied systems are covered for a period of 3 years from the completion date of the project. The warranty is transferable to the new homeowners granted the proper information is provided to Lisk Landscape Architecture within 45 days of closing.