Solve Basement Moisture with Soil Grading
LESLIE: Monish in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MONISH: OK, this is what happens. I have a lot of moisture in my basement. I have French drains installed …
MONISH: … but still I have to run the dehumidifier in the summer months. And I’ve rerouted all my gutters almost 30 feet away from my house.
TOM: Oh, that was good to do.
MONISH: Yeah, and all my gutters lead water away. But the grade is still an issue.
MONISH: I have solved it by grading it away from the house (inaudible at 0:11:07.1).
MONISH: But I still get a lot of moisture and I’m wondering what I can do with that.
TOM: Right. OK. Well, first of all, the grading is still flat. Is there an opportunity for you to add any fill dirt and have it slope away from the foundation wall? We’re just talking about the first four feet or so. Is that possible?
MONISH: First four feet? Oh, I can do that, yes.
TOM: Yeah. What you want to do is use clean fill dirt, Monish; you don’t want to use anything that has like topsoil that’s very organic. Use clean fill dirt. You pack it down really well. Then you can add some mulch or seed on top of that to keep it from eroding. You did the right thing with the gutters. I know they’re extending away. I also want to make sure that you’re not seeing any gutters that are overflowing because you don’t have enough downspouts; so just take a good look at the roof. Generally, you want one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet.
And then, inside the basement, in the summer, if you’re just dealing with high humidity, what you might want to think about – do you have a forced-air heating and cooling system?
MONISH: No, I don’t. I have baseboard heater.
TOM: You have baseboard hot water?
TOM: And do you have air conditioning?
MONISH: No, I don’t.
TOM: You don’t. OK. Well, I was going to tell you that there’s an appliance called a whole-house dehumidifier but you need a duct system to basically have it work.
MONISH: Oh, OK.
TOM: But you’re doing everything right. You’ve got the downspouts clean and extended out. You’ve got to improve your grading and run a dehumidifier. Short of having a duct system where we can have a more powerful dehumidification system installed, that’s pretty much all you can do with it right now.
MONISH: Oh, OK. OK. Maybe the grading should help me. Let me give it a try and I’ll …
TOM: Grading and gutters make a big difference.
MONISH: Oh, OK. Thanks, Tom.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.