LESLIE: John in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: OK, I want to know after a rain – a day or two after a rain – the water trickles through the basement and there’s no standing water outside. Do I have a creek under my house or is it – are the houses sinking or – what does this indicate?
TOM: No. No, it’s not that complicated, John. What happens is the soil gets very saturated around the outside of the house and it can take a day or two to soak into the foundation. What you need to do is to take some steps to improve the drainage outside so water doesn’t collect as much around the foundation perimeter.
Look at your gutter system. Extend the downspouts; getting it out four to six feet from the house. Take a look at the grading. Adjust that grading so it slopes about six inches down over four feet going away from the house. Add some clean fill dirt. If you get the angle set just right, if you manage the gutters and don’t collect water around the foundation, that wet basement problem will dry up very quickly.
JOHN: Well, now I have a window well and you know how low window wells are. I can actually see water, at times, coming up from the bottom up.
TOM: Yeah, I bet you can.
JOHN: And it has filled that window well to at least ten gallons of water I have to scoop out of it in wintertime. It’s not a pleasant thing to do.
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to stop the water from collecting at the foundation. That’s why it’s going in there. It’s not necessarily falling straight down. It’s collecting at the foundation perimeter and it’s running to areas of least resistance. So look again at the gutter system, look at the downspouts. You want the downspouts out four feet from the house. We want the soil sloping away. If you want to add a cover to the window well, fine; go ahead and do it. But I think your main problem is drainage and if you solve that, the wet basement will go away.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.