Basement Leaks When It Rains

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I have read your articles about the causes of a leaking basement, and solutions like rain gutter downspouts and sloping the ground away from the house.  I have done all these things and my basement still leaks when it rains hard. The ground all around my house is nothing but clay, two feet below ground level.  I am planning on digging out around my foundation (DIY), sealing the basement wall and backfilling with gravel and drain pipes. along with selaing walls with a tar-based sealant I was applying plastic seathing. A question I have is, can I fill the gravel all the way to ground level as long as I have excelent drainage around the foundation? I was thinking I can have a gravel barrier between the dirt and basement walls; however, does that forfeit any insulation property that the top layer of dirt would provide?

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