One of the keys to a dry basement is to keep excess water out of the area surrounding the foundation. Typically, a zone of at least ten feet around the foundation consists of soil that was excavated during the construction of the house that remains more porous than the surrounding undisturbed soil, even if the house has been in place for decades.
There are several ways to keep this area as dry as possible, including making sure that the lawn is graded to slope away from the house and allow rain water to run downhill. Also, pitching exterior construction like decks and patios properly ensures that water runs off them away from the foundation.
Landscaping, too, plays a part, in that planting beds and boxes can hold water next to the foundation if they don’t drain effectively.
The biggest culprits, though, are downspouts that terminate next to the house and dump hundreds of gallons of water right next to the foundation whenever it rains. This water quickly ends up in the basement.
Many homeowners understand the value of extending their downspouts but try to do it themselves or hire the guys who mow their lawn to attempt it. As we will see, this is not a good idea.
There are several reasons why choosing a reputable basement waterproofing contractor to install underground downspout extensions is the best approach for any homeowner:
Right Materials – There are several different kinds of plastic pipe that could be used to extend downspouts but only one really works. Basement waterproofing companies will use rigid, solid PVC pipe to lengthen downspouts underground because it is strong enough to withstand soil pressure underground and it always delivers water where you want it – far from the house. Landscapers and DIYers typically choose flexible, perforated corrugated pipe that is meant for interior drain tile because it is easy to handle but it is also easily crushed and leaches water along its length instead of carrying it to a safe zone.
Right Pitch – It sounds simple but it takes knowledge and experience to know how to install underground downspout extensions so that they will always drain completely. Amateurs will often just “eyeball” the pitch and that often results in back-ups that can clog and damage the downspouts, especially when the trapped water freezes and expands.
Right Connection – A typical mistake made by DIYers or landscapers in installing underground downspout extensions is to connect them directly to the downspout. Basement waterproofing contractors will typically install extensions with a debris filter that sits a few inches below the end of the downspout. This allows the homeowner to easily keep the system free of leaves and other debris and prevents clogs that might require digging up the extension to clear.
Right Length – Another common mistake when homeowners or landscapers lengthen downspouts underground is that they come up short and discharge water within the 10-foot “zone of failure” mentioned above. A basement waterproofing contractor knows all too well what happens when this area retains water and installs downspout extensions long enough to carry water safely away from where it can do damage.
At U.S. Waterproofing we know all the ways that water can enter a basement and have helped more than 300,000 homeowners to prevent seepage problems or solve them permanently once they’ve occurred. We have installed miles of underground downspout extensions and can recommend the best way to discharge water, whether it is to tie into a storm sewer, install a bubbler pot or dry well, or just run to daylight. Why not ask for our free advice when your downspouts are the source of water in the basement?
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