We are grateful for our clients and love to get calls from them asking for help with additional work, but this was one of those calls that we never like to receive.
It’s no secret that we have had a very wet year, with more rain than I can ever remember. One of our clients called us up after a particularly heavy storm and told us about a problem they were having in a very specific area in their basement. So we headed over right away to see what we could do.
Another contractor had installed a permeable paver area between the house and the driveway, adjacent to a window well. Every heavy rainstorm we had this year resulted in water seeping into their finished basement.
Permeable pavers certainly have their place, and can look quite lovely when properly installed, but this was not one of those instances.
Since the pavers were adjacent to the house, there should have been an impermeable liner installed at the bottom of the excavated area to contain the water, as well as an outflow pipe to get rid of excess water before it leaked into the basement. The base should have also been done with varying layers of stone, as noted in my previous post, but it was not.
To make matters worse, the contractor had installed channel drains to remove surface water from the area. With a permeable pavement, the entire stone capture area under the pavement would have to fill up before water would get into these drains. The drains ran out to a swale in the backyard, and during heavy rains, the swale would fill up and actually backflow into the area.
All that water did nothing to help the longevity of the window well, so when we arrived at the home and took a look at the area, we noticed that the pavers had sunk and the stone had migrated into the window well.
Instead of trying to repair everything, we all agreed that the best course of action was to replace the entire area with a standard paver installation, so the water would run off the space into an existing channel drain along the driveway. In the process of completing this work, we removed one of the channel drains installed closer to the house.
We also removed the rotted window well and replaced it with a new one, set a few inches higher than the original. This allowed us to raise the grade of the pavers closer to the house and give us more pitch to the driveway. The added pitch would ensure that all water falling on the pavers would move away from the house, particularly if the downspout drain backs up during heavy rains. Since the driveway doesn’t have much pitch, leaving this drain was an excellent option.
The next time it rains, our client won’t have to rush out to set up a sump pump in the window well or ShopVac the water out of their basement. I’m glad we were able to help the client, even though we wish the job would have been done correctly the first time, saving them the headache of a rush repair job and the sting of paying for the same project, twice.
If you’re considering permeable pavement for your home, make sure it’s done correctly the first time. Contact Garrett Churchill today for more information.
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