Prevent Basement Flooding with Proper Drainage
LESLIE: Pat in Illinois needs some help with a leak. Tell us what’s going on.
PAT: I got new, enlarged gutters and downspouts on. And they cut a trough out to the – my field, which is OK. We’ve had some torrential downpours and this hasn’t, obviously, been lately but I got flooding in my basement. And I was told that there’s a trough that is next to my block basement that is either inside or outside. I could see, visually, it coming in underneath my stairs as I cut away the drywall and I’m not sure – because, unfortunately, the company that did it is out of business – if my trough is inside or outside.
TOM: Does the rainfall precipitate the flood? In other words, does it always flood after a heavy rain?
PAT: You know, it never flooded. I built the basement on in an addition 12 years after I built the house for, really, a storm shelter. And it never did until I put the new, improved, larger gutters/larger downspouts on.
TOM: Right. So, obviously, it’s – the issue is with the drainage of these spouts. And when you have an area that’s susceptible to flooding, you need to discharge the water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation, if not further. I mean I – if it’s possible, I like to run the pipes out underground and take them to a dry well or take them to daylight somewhere if the property is set up such where you can get away with that. But you’ve got to manage the drainage.
And it’s great that you got the bigger gutters because they’re not going to clog as easily. But wherever these downspouts are hitting, that water has got to get far away from the house.
PAT: I think that was the case. I think what has happened is the abundance of rain that came over the gutters, based on the mass that it came down – and again, it probably has happened before but it never flooded down there.
TOM: Pat, whenever you get a flood that’s consistent with rainfall, it’s always, always, always drainage, OK? It’s not rising water tables or any of that other kind of stuff. It’s always drainage, always. So, it’s a clogged gutter, it’s a downspout that’s dropping water too close to the house, it’s soil that’s sloped back into the wall. Fix the drainage, you’ll fix the flood, guaranteed.
Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.