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How To Control Drainage for Your Commercial Property

How To Control Drainage for Your Commercial Property

Commercial property requires maintenance and proactive services to maintain its value and function. Drainage systems shouldn’t be overlooked. When they are, once water issues occur, damage begins, which is expensive and time-consuming to try to repair. Install proper drainage in the first place to alleviate any issues. Let’s take a look at how to control drainage for your commercial property and why it’s important.

What Is Drainage?

Drainage is the process of removing unwanted surface or subsurface water so the excess water doesn’t cause damage. Excess water is caused by rain, snow, ice, and also bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

Surface water is the water that’s visible on the ground. Subsurface water is unseen because it is underground but can eventually become surface water. Both types need proper drainage to remain under control.

Why Is Proper Drainage Necessary?

In order to prevent damage to your commercial property, proper drainage is necessary. Let’s discuss a few issues that occur when drainage is left unchecked.

Interior and Exterior Damage

Water is fluid and able to filter its way into any space it reaches. Cracks, leaks, and any undrained areas are easy targets for water to enter. That means any area of your building, whether interior or exterior, is at risk.

Compact Soil

The compacting of soil due to a lack of drainage is a vicious cycle. Although soil needs water, without drainage, the wet soil becomes dense and compacts, making it even tougher for water to drain through. Water then sits on the surface, causing issues with landscaping, turf, mowing, and potentially greater damage the longer it remains.


Mosquitos may not affect your building directly, but as a commercial building, they will in some way affect tenants, customers, or personnel. Water attracts mosquitos, and they multiply quickly in undrained areas.

Death To Green Areas

Sure, grass, plants, and trees need water, but there’s a limit. Too much water sitting on the grass or at a tree’s roots results in drowned grass and root rot.

You must control drainage for your commercial property; understanding the damage that surface and subsurface water can do helps with that.

What Causes Excess Water?

When owning a commercial building, at first sight, it may look like there are no groundwater issues. Unfortunately, as time goes on and things such as heavy rainfalls occur, you may find there are drainage issues after all.

The main causes of excess surface and subsurface water are rainfall, snow, and ice. Heavy rainfall with nowhere to drain quickly causes foundation issues as it creeps toward or into the building. Melting snow and ice work in the same way.

Unchecked irrigation systems are another problem. Many commercial buildings are surrounded by lush turf and landscaping, which is kept hydrated with an irrigation system. When these systems have damage that goes unnoticed for too long, water begins to pool, and then you’ve got a drainage issue before you know it. Keep irrigation systems regularly maintained to avoid this from happening.

Drainage Options

Now that we know drainage is important and why commercial buildings need it, let’s look at the different drainage options.


Water doesn’t search for the safest path on your property. It simply flows where it can go. That means you can easily direct it away from your commercial building. Have the grounds graded effectively to keep surface water away from the building.

French Drains

A French drain is an underground drain system that uses perforated pipes to move excess subsurface water away from a commercial building. These are excellent and very effective for preventative measures. Drains are placed underground in trenches, and then the piping is placed in the trenches.

Landscaping textiles, sand, or gravel are used to prevent the drainage material from moving. This also helps to prevent soil and other debris from entering the drainage system. French drains are commonly used in areas that flood easily so they can move excess water away from a building. They aren’t, however, the best choice in areas with severe slopes since the digging involved to install a French drain may cause further interruption and subsurface water issues—not to mention putting power and underground water lines at risk.

Trench Drains

Although placed underground, the trench drain is used to remove excess surface water above ground. They work similarly to a gutter as a long narrow trench is dug underground, lined in concrete, and then a grate is placed over the trench. Using a slope to help it along, the trench drain is connected to a waterway or storm sewer, which protects the ecosystem, and redirects the water flow to protect any area. Often, it’s the foundation of a building.

Because they are visible, trench drain grates are offered in different styles to make them aesthetically appealing. Because they are so close to the surface, they’re convenient, easy to install, and can handle plenty of excess water flow.

Materials Used in Trench Drains

Polymer, cast iron, galvanized steel, plastic, and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are all found in different drainage systems. The area in which the system is installed makes a difference in what is used. A highway requires something stronger than a system leading away from a building.

Choosing the Right Drainage System

As a commercial property owner, choosing the right drainage system is imperative in protecting your building and the surrounding area. Seek the advice of a professional drain company to come up with the best option. Keep a few things in mind as you consider the right choice:

Your professional drain installer will go over these questions with you as well as explain how each system works and the best materials to use.

In conclusion, proper drainage is part of the essential upkeep for a commercial building. The right drainage system, once installed, will give you peace of mind, knowing water is no longer a concern.

ABT offers high-quality surface water drainage solutions for commercial trench drain systems, along with the transportation industry, industrial, and residential drainage needs. Contact us with all of your drainage system questions and concerns. Our experienced professionals are here to help you make the best choice for your commercial drainage needs.

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