Keeping Water Out of the Basement

With all the snow and rain we’ve been having, and the promise of a wet spring ahead, it’s important to go over how to keep water from entering your basement. Melting snow and rain can do a tremendous amount of damage as it creeps into your home’s foundation through cracks in the foundation and foundation walls via hydrostatic pressure. 

Basement flooding can cause mold and other issues to spread through your house, so it is important to prevent water from accessing your home. 

Hydraulic cement can be used to patch holes in your foundation or basement walls to help prevent water from seeping through. 

Utilizing downspout extensions to allow gutters to drain further away from the home may help prevent a wet basement. 

Ensuring that your home has proper grading can go a long way toward keeping water out of the basement and should be your first step in creating a drainage system. Ideally, the ground should drop one inch for every one foot that you move away from the house for the first 5 to 10 feet around your house. While this is not always possible, the ground should never be sloping upwards as you move away from your house foundation. When the ground slopes upward the water will flow downward, right into your foundation where hydrostatic pressure will eventually push it through the foundation. 

Having a french drain for your basement or crawl space, or installing and maintaining footing drains, can help water from building up and covering your basement floor. A french drain is a ditch in the ground inset with perforated piping under gravel. The pipe funnels water to a central location where it can be pumped away using a sump pump attached to a garden hose or other system. A footing drain is a similar system but is installed outside the perimeter of your home to help keep water out and prevent water problems. Whichever drainage system you utilize, it is important to maintain it, as tree roots and debris can clog them and render them useless.