When wet weather sets in, it’s important to make sure that the rain stays outside the house where it belongs. While roof problems are the most obvious source of water intrusion into the home, it is important not only to look up, but to remember what’s below. Water intrusion into your basement or foundation is often not immediately obvious, but can result in even larger problems than a leaky roof if left unchecked for too long. Here are the best ways to keep water from getting below your house.
Mind the Downspouts
One of the easiest ways for water to get next to your foundation is improperly installed downspouts. Not only should your gutters be clear of debris to allow water to flow freely to the downspout, you also need to be mindful of where the water leaves the downspouts.Ensure that your downspouts channel water at least five feet away from your house. Otherwise your gutters will just be directing all the rain directly next to your foundation—a recipe for disaster.
When rain falls next to your house, you want it to roll away from the home, not toward it. Be sure that the ground immediately surrounding your home is flat, smooth, and gently sloped away from the home. If the ground slopes toward the house or has large holes, water will collect and run down right next to the foundation.
If your foundation is cracked, even a small amount of water running down the outside wall could result in wet conditions inside. Properly sealing cracks in your foundation requires specialized tools and materials. Be prepared to dig a large enough trench to get all the way to the bottom of your foundation, or just hire a contractor to do the job for you.
Finally, if you’re going to dig a trench around your home anyway, you may as well install a French drain while you’re down there. French drains are an in-ground channel that collects and directs water away from your foundation, named after Henry Flagg French who was an early proponent of this style of drainage.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Keeping your foundation dry is a lot of work, but it’s a lot better to do the work to prevent a problem than to have to clean up the mess that could result from a leaky basement. Want an expert to assess your foundation? Consider hiring a foundation engineer or concrete specialist.
Top image credit: Improveit! Home Remodeling