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Yard Drainage - Managing Water Around your Foundation

Apr 13, 2012 • By Matthew Stock with Barry Schilling.

Yard Drainage - Managing Water Around your Foundation

One of the most important ways to maintain a healthy foundation and dry basement is proper yard drainage on the outside of your home. An experienced basement waterproofing contractor knows this and begins to evaluate your home when they get out of their car in your driveway.

What are they looking for?  Improperly installed or maintained gutters and downspouts.  A badly graded yard that directs water toward your foundation walls.  Landscaping that may retain water or block its flow.  All of these are factors that can contribute to a water seepage problem in your basement.

Where does water go when it leaves your home?

Every time it rains, water comes down your downspouts and goes – somewhere.  If that somewhere is onto the ground along your foundation, it may be causing or contributing to your basement waterproofing problem.  The same is true of water coming from the discharge of your sump pump.  Any storm water discharge, from downspouts or sump pump, should be carried a minimum of ten feet away from your foundation.  One way to accomplish this is with Underground Downspout Extensions.

Yard Drainage and Landscaping problems

Grading your lawn so it slopes away from your home is always a good practice but, unfortunately, not always possible. If re-grading is out of the question, try to keep surrounding soil at least two or three inches below the top of the foundation. If your lawn slopes toward your home, consider building a berm or installing a surface drainage system to divert the water. Check the edging on flower beds, especially the plastic kind, to make sure it’s not holding water too close to the foundation.

Condition of Gutters

Your entire gutter system, including downspouts, should be checked and maintained regularly.Overflowing Gutters Damage Foundations  Are the gutters clogged?  Are there leaks or other damage?  Are the downspouts large enough to handle the flow from a heavy rain?  Each inch of rainfall pours 1000 to 1500 gallons of water onto your roof, so the performance of your gutters is crucial – overflowing gutters can cause your window wells to fill, increase hydrostatic pressure under your basement floor and even cause your foundation to shift.  Next time it rains, grab an umbrella and see how your gutters are doing out there.

We discussed the causes of foundation cracks in a recent blog.  You’ll see that over-saturation of the soil caused by poor exterior water management can be one of the major causes of foundation cracks and basement water seepage.

Not sure how well your home is managing water?  Please feel free to contact us — our advice is free. 

Tags: foundation cracks, why cracks form, yard drainage, overflowing rain gutters

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