The Water Paradox

“Water, water, everywhere/Nor any drop to drink”, a well-known verse from the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  This verse well illustrates the paradox of water.  The sailors in the poem needed water to drink and had water all around them; but to drink the ocean’s salty offering would mean their certain death.  We require water to sustain life but too much water, or the lack of water, can wreak havoc around us, especially to our homes.


Because of foundation problems the brick exterior has cracked
Crack in brick exterior due to foundation settlement

Let’s first consider how homes are affected by a lack of moisture.  First, the ground will shrink causing a house to settle – this is especially true here in the Kansas City Metro as our soil contains active clay minerals that expand and contract with changing moisture content.  And if you have trees, their roots search for water drawing it away from your foundation.  The results:  Cracks in exterior walls; fascia board pulling way (which means gutters and downspouts will pull away also); cracks appearing on interior drywall and doors that stick or are hard to open.

On the other hand, too much water can be just as destructive.  Water will fill up every hole and find its way into any crack.  It can actually move through a solid concrete wall.  A flooded basement can cost thousands of dollars to repair, particularly if it’s a finished basement.  But even occasional leaks through cracks can be potentially dangerous as it allows mold to form and grow which can spread throughout the house.

So there’s the paradox – we need water, but too much or too little is harmful.  Those ancient sailors would have benefited if they could have taken the salt out of the sea water but the technology had not yet been invented.  Today, if we could control the environment, it would only rain as we need the moisture.  But that would mean a perfect world and we’re not there yet.  In the meantime, Gutter Cover of Kansas City can provide a free evaluation of your gutter system to determine how effectively the gutters and downspouts are channeling excess water away from your foundation.  You may call us at 816-246-7881 or go to our website, to submit a request.