Water, Water Everywhere: How to Keep it Out of Your Basement

Water, Water Everywhere: How to Keep it Out of Your BasementIn the last month, three things have been in the news: water, water and more water. We’re being flooded here too with problems and questions about leaks, mostly below grade. This is a question that most people think has an expensive answer because they perceive it as an expensive problem. In actuality, this is an expensive problem with an inexpensive solution.

I’ve got over 20 years of experience solving this particular problem, both as a syndicated radio host and professional home inspector. Take it from me when I tell you there is no need to panic or hire waterproofers. A few basic precautions will prevent most wet basement problems. You’ll be surprised how simply it really is.

Solving basement moisture starts at the roof with a functional, well-maintained gutter system equipped to carry rainwater in the right direction. There should be at least one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface, and all downspouts should extend to discharge at least four to six feet from your home's foundation. Gutters must also be kept clean and clear of debris.

The other key factor to keeping your basement dry is the soil around your foundation perimeter. It should slope away from your house on a downward angle of six inches over the first four feet from the foundation wall. Heavy amounts of landscaping topsoil can hold water against the foundation, so if you need to improve your grade, do so with clean fill dirt and add just a small layer of topsoil over that to support grass or other plantings.

Take care of these two improvements and you'll leave water no chance to get in to below grade spaces.