We live in Argyle TX and have a 42 yr old pier and beam house sitting at the bottom of a hill. I have called several people out for professional help and they want $5000 to $7000 to regrade put in French drains etc. I thought I could just create a swale and make a dry creek bed going around the house and directed down the hill more simply bit was concerned about how high is safe to build up on house side I'm assuming stay just below brick line?enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

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    Welcome to DIY! We're going to need more details to answer this. Some pictures or diagrams would help. – Machavity Feb 16 '19 at 1:54
  • Have you looked under the house and into the crawl space when there is water standing next to the foundation? You could have standing water in the crawl space and if so, this is a serious condition. It can lead to rotting of the wooden beams and joists that support the floor. – Jim Stewart Feb 17 '19 at 15:22

I would avoid adding soil next to the foundation and instead focus on removing soil to make a swale 4 ft or so away from the foundation. For termite resistance it is best to keep the soil level at least 6 inches below the sill plate, and more is better.

I think a swale and dry creek bed are excellent solutions. If the topology allows it, they are preferred over underground drains.

Swales are much more in the province of a DIYer than are underground drains. I solved a neighbor's serious drainage problem with 8 hrs of work on my part using a mattock, shovel and wheelbarrow.

EDIT It could be that after a rain the water table around this house rises to ground level or above. If this is the case, then true French drains would be necessary to drain the soil.

  • +1 for above ground drainage systems. Seems like you have “semi-flash floods” that underground drainage systems would not work. – Lee Sam Feb 16 '19 at 18:30
  • No I have not been under....good point though I will look it that. – Jody M Bowman Feb 17 '19 at 15:29
  • Forty years ago I looked into the crawl space of a pier-and-beam house we were renting in Dallas and saw standing water. (There was a trapdoor in a hall closet.) The resulting high humidity was causing cupping of the floorboards. I reported it to the landlord, but I don't know if he took any action. We only were there for one year. I know of cases of extensive rot damage from standing water under pier-and-beam houses. – Jim Stewart Feb 17 '19 at 15:50

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