Do you live in a log home or cabin prone to flooding during heavy rains? Have you noticed water pooling around the foundation or seeping into the basement? If so, you may be dealing with stormwater runoff issues.
Stormwater runoff is a common problem for many homeowners, predominantly in rural areas with limited drainage systems. When rainwater can’t be absorbed into the ground, it can cause significant damage to your property and the environment. This is especially true for log homes, which are more susceptible to water damage than traditional homes.
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is the excess water that flows over land during a storm or heavy rain.
The term typically refers to the water accumulating on the ground without getting absorbed into the soil or vegetation. Instead, it runs off roads, parking lots, and other impervious surfaces, picking up pollutants like oil and chemicals and ending up in nearby rivers, streams, lakes, or oceans.
Why is Stormwater Runoff a Problem?
Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants such as chemicals, oils, pesticides, fertilizers, and sediment. When this polluted water enters our waterways, it can cause harm to aquatic ecosystems and pose a health risk to humans.
Many log homes are in areas near lakes and streams. Stormwater runoff can infect these natural waterways and harm wildlife. The pollutants that stormwater picks up can also make the water unsafe for drinking, swimming, or other recreational activities.
Besides polluting our waterways, stormwater runoff can cause erosion, washing away soil and other materials from the land. This can lead to the loss of fertile soil and negatively impact the environment and human activities such as agriculture. Additionally, it can damage infrastructure like bridges and culverts, leading to costly repairs.
According to NOAA, storms and flash floods caused almost $400 billion in damages in the US in 2022 .
When there is heavy rainfall, stormwater runoff can overwhelm the capacity of drainage systems and cause flooding, damaging properties and infrastructure, disrupting transportation, and even endangering lives.
Stormwater runoff can alter the natural hydrology of watersheds, causing changes in the flow and temperature of the water. This can hurt the ecosystems — and the plants and animals that depend on them.
How to Manage Stormwater Runoff for Log Homes
From the above, it becomes apparent how crucial it is to manage stormwater runoff in order to protect your log home, the environment, and public health.
Fortunately, you can employ many strategies and technologies to manage stormwater runoff and protect your log home from damage. Here are some of the best practices we recommend for managing stormwater runoff.
Rain Barrels and Cisterns
Rain barrels and cisterns are among the oldest and easiest ways to deal with stormwater runoff. They help by capturing and storing rainwater that would otherwise run off the property and contribute to stormwater pollution.
This can help prevent flooding and erosion while easing the pressure on municipal drainage systems. It can also reduce the amount of pollutants that enter waterways, thus improving water quality and protecting aquatic ecosystems.
In addition, capturing rainwater in rain barrels and cisterns can provide free, untreated water for irrigation, landscaping, and other non-potable services. Not only does this reduce the demand for municipal water supplies, but it also saves money on water bills. Having extra, accessible water is essential during droughts when rain barrels and cisterns can provide a reliable water source for your vegetation and crops.
Rain barrels and cisterns are one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to manage stormwater runoff, conserve water, and promote sustainability. All you need is a few barrels strategically placed under your drains!
Green, vegetated, or living roofs are covered with vegetation, soil, and drainage layers. They help absorb and retain rainfall, reduce stormwater runoff, and provide various benefits.
Since green roofs retain a significant amount of rainwater, they reduce the volume of stormwater runoff that reaches the ground and ease the pressure on drainage systems. This prevents overwhelming the system during heavy rain and storms.
At the same time, the vegetation and soil on green roofs act as a natural filter, removing pollutants from stormwater. The runoff that does reach the rivers and waterways will thus have fewer pollutants.
In addition to filtration, green roofs create habitats for plants, insects, and birds. This promotes biodiversity and provides other ecosystem services, helping partially mitigate the damage caused to aquatic ecosystems.
On top of that, green roofs can enhance the natural beauty of a log home, blending in with the surrounding landscape and creating a unique and attractive feature that can increase the property’s value.
Overall, green roofs are an effective and sustainable way to manage stormwater runoff. However, installing a green roof on a log home may require additional structural support, as the added weight of the soil, plants, and water can be significant. Consult with our specialists before installing a green roof on your log home to ensure it is safe and structurally sound.
Rain gardens can be considered a variation on green roofs, except they are on the ground rather than on the roof. They are shallow depressions filled with plants and soil that are designed to capture, store, and filter stormwater runoff from roofs, driveways, and other impervious surfaces.
Rain gardens can help with stormwater runoff in similar ways as green roofs. Namely, they act as a sponge that absorbs and infiltrates stormwater runoff, allowing it to filter into the ground and recharge groundwater supplies. The soil and vegetation clean the runoff by natural processes such as biological uptake, adsorption, and settling, which remove pollutants and improve water quality.
In addition, rain gardens reduce the volume of stormwater runoff that enters the drainage system, thus helping to prevent flooding and easing the pressure on municipal drainage systems. They also provide a habitat for various beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, which can help promote biodiversity.
And, of course, they look great! Rain gardens can be designed with various plants and landscaping features, providing an attractive and functional addition to any property, improving curb appeal, and increasing your log home’s value.
While rain gardens are typically placed around a log home, buffer zones are established along the edge of waterways, wetlands, or other sensitive areas, to protect them from the negative impacts of stormwater runoff.
Like rain gardens, they are areas of vegetation and soil that intercept stormwater runoff, filtering and absorbing any pollutants. Since this limits the amount of runoff entering the waterway, buffer zones also help stabilize the shoreline and prevent erosion and the loss of fertile soil. In addition, they provide a habitat for various beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, promoting biodiversity.
As a bonus, just like rain gardens, buffer zones look pretty! They can be designed with various native plants and landscaping features, providing an attractive and functional addition to any property.
Dutch Drain System
While the Dutch are famous for their ingenuity when it comes to water management, the Dutch drain system is also known as a “French drain” because it was named after Henry Flagg French, an American farmer, and lawyer who popularized the concept in his book “Farm Drainage” in 1859.
The term “French drain” likely came into use because the French were the first to promote the use of the drainage system in the United States. French probably used the term “Dutch drain” because the Dutch have a long history of building and maintaining dikes, canals, and other water management systems. However, it is not clear where he first learned of the technique, and it is likely that similar drainage systems have been used by many cultures throughout history.
In any case, the Dutch drain system and the French drain are essentially the same things — a drainage system that uses a perforated pipe or a gravel-filled trench to manage stormwater runoff. It redirects it away from the property and into a drainage system or a nearby waterway.
A Dutch drain system allows stormwater runoff to infiltrate the soil, where it can be naturally filtered and absorbed. The runoff recharges groundwater supplies instead of causing a flood. Also, by reducing the volume of stormwater runoff that enters waterways, a Dutch drain system helps improve water quality and protects aquatic ecosystems.
In addition, a Dutch drain system helps prevent erosion and the loss of fertile soil and habitat by redirecting stormwater runoff away from a property.
Like rain barrels, Dutch drain systems are easy to install using inexpensive materials and require minimal maintenance. They are a simple, low-cost solution that can be easily installed on any property, making it an accessible option for homeowners, businesses, and communities.
Build Your Log Home With Wildlife in Mind
Do you own a log home and have trouble managing stormwater runoff? Heavy rain and storms can cause significant damage to your property if you don’t have a proper system in place. Stormwater runoff can erode the soil around the log home’s foundation, cause basement flooding, and even damage the logs.
You must proactively implement effective management strategies to protect your log home from stormwater runoff.
Frontier Log Homes have built dozens of log homes around Montrose, Colorado, and beyond. If you are worried about heavy rains and storms, we’ll be happy to discuss possible ways to manage stormwater runoff for your log home and keep your property safe from damage.
Contact us at 970-249-7130 and ensure your log home stays dry and protected during even the heaviest of rains!