Keeping your basement dry during the winter months, even as snow, ice, and rain slam Central Maryland, can be a challenge. *** You want to keep all of that drainage from pooling around your home foundation and leaking into your basement.
So, here are some tips for proper grading around your home foundation so you won’t fear those coming storms this winter:
- Create trenches and French Drains: One way is to have a dry creek bed in the middle of the yard filled with river rock and sloping away from the house. Some new homes have French Drains or perimeter drains installed. These trenches run along the perimeter of the home foundation and are lined with tile and rock. These trenches and drains work great to direct the water flow away from the house, usually with PVC pipe, that lower the water table. Installing a drainage system, however, is not a simple project. A small part of the yard must be dug up before the system is installed. A home foundation contractor is highly recommended to do this task.
- Rain Barrels: These stop water from seeping into the home foundation. They also allow you to water the garden or lawn without turning on the water hose. The barrels have to be emptied fairly often, depending on how much snow and rain we get. Rain barrels have a spigot, so they can be connected to a hose to divert the water away from the house.
- Check the downspouts: Often, a home’s downspouts can get pushed askew. However, if the spouts are not directed, the water will pool close to the home foundation. Downspouts need to be repositioned and also have a drainage area where the downspouts flow. The downspouts need to be filled with gravel or river rock. The rocks slow the water absorption into the ground.
- Clean the gutters: Begin this year by cleaning your gutters. During the fall, gutters may back up with leaves, dirt, branches, dead animals, and other debris. Soon, they spill over, sending water down to the pool along the foundation. Many homeowners clean their gutters using a ladder and a vacuum. Climbing a ladder, however, may seem like a scary idea so, have a gutter cleaning company do it. It typically takes a couple of hours and costs a few hundred dollars for an average home.
- New perimeter grading around the footprint of the house: Redirecting the downspout extension pipes away from the house is important. A clay-based soil sheds water best.
- Plant a Rain Garden: It’s winter as I write this blog, so you may want to wait until spring to do this one. Rain gardens are lower areas of the yard that allow water to run off the lawn and away from the foundation. They are typically planted toward the edge, between the yard and the street. Low-maintenance plants will control erosion and slow how much water is absorbed into the ground.
Some of these modifications you can do on your own. A few others may require professionals to install or clean. Now is the time to get it done before the next snowstorm or heavy rain so you can protect your home and save on expensive home foundation repairs and basement cleanup.
M Taylor Enterprise can inspect your home foundation to see if you have any basement waterproofing issues. Call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. We serve the Montgomery County, parts of Prince Georges and Howard Counties.
*** For more information on Maryland weather, visit the Weather Atlas website.
In the midst of this Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, a lot of things may be pushed aside. That is understandable. This experience is all new to us.
But, since we have a lot of time at home right now, there are some things you can do to keep your home foundation in good shape. One task that you can do is clean the gutters.
As we have discussed in past blogs, a cluttered or impacted gutter can cause the following problems for your home foundation:
- Water damage from gutter overflow: When gutters are filled with leaves, soil, and other debris, they will overflow. Gutters are designed to send rainwater away from the foundation. However, when they are cluttered, the water will instead fall on the home and foundation, thus causing cracks in it.
- Water in the foundation cracks: Once water infiltrates the home foundation cracks, it will freeze in the winter. When it freezes it expands the cracks which allow for even more water to enter.
- Standing water attracts mosquitos: When gutters spill onto the ground they can create little ponds. These ponds then attract bugs, mainly mosquitos, which can nest and reproduce in the water. They then will infiltrate your home.
- Soil erosion: The constant running of water on the side of a home foundation will erode the soil and cause the home to shift. This will crack the foundation and cause all sorts of interior damage to the home.
- Home siding damage: Water will also stain siding, painting, and rotting.
So, as you can see, your gutters do a crucial job of keeping your foundation clean and preserved. They must be cleaned regularly or much home foundation damage will result.
Here is are some tips on how to clean your gutters:
- Use a small garden trowel or your gloved hands to scoop out the leaves and debris. Start at the downspout and make your way backward.
- Once you have done this first part, make your way down the gutter, carefully cleaning out each section. You can throw the debris into a bag or toss it to the ground and clean it up afterward.
- Using a hose, flush out the deeper and smaller debris. If there is only a trickle in your downspout, you may have a serious clog. Aim the gun nozzle down the spout and use the highest pressure to force the debris off the gutter walls and down the downspout.
- Clean up all of the debris that was flushed out of the gutters.
- And, as always, be careful on the ladder. Have someone hold the ladder sides while you do the gutter cleaning.
If this task seems dangerous to you or you are unable to do it, have a gutter cleaning company do it for you. It is recommended that you do it at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall after most of the leaves have fallen.
Should you notice any home foundation issues, call a professional, licensed home foundation repair contractor. M Taylor Enterprise is an experienced and licensed home repair foundation contractor. We can inspect, analyze, and repair your home foundation correctly and efficiently. We serve the counties of Prince George and Silver Spring, MD area. Call us for a consultation at (301) 649-3406 or email us at email@example.com.
Rain has hit us hard on the East Coast.
Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. have been hit particularly hard. Ellicott City, Maryland had rolling rivers flowing through the downtown area. There has been tragic loss of life and property.
Water and flooding causes thousands of dollars in damage. The good news, however, is this: some water damage can be prevented. It just takes educated effort and a little expense.
If you have a basement, you need to be especially aware of the need to protect it and your home. According to Homeadvisor.com, the average cost to repair and clean up basement water damage in the DMV area is $1,925 and can be as high as $25,000. That’s a lot of hard-earned money going down the drain, so to speak.
So, it’s important to protect your basement from water damage. Here are several ways to waterproof it and prevent flooding:
- Downspout Drainage System: Redirect all downpsouts away from your home. You can add an extension to the downspout that will stop water from cascading into your basement. It is recommended that you install a full drainage system sending water underground and away from your basement.
- Exterior grading, the number one overlooked maintenance item. Proper regrading to ensure that rain water runs away from the foundation is critical. Regrading is the single most important item to keep your basement dry next to gutter and downspout maintenance. Often proper grading with a clay base soil can eliminate the need for an interior drainage system. Don’t overlook window wells either, they need to be a proper height and fit.
- Install or maintain your sump pump: All basements should have a sump pump! A pedestal or submersible sump pump removes water that accumulates in the basement. It’s installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. From there, it keeps the area dry and prevents basement flooding. Water flows into the sump pit by way of drains or by water migration in the soil. Sump pump’s pump the water out of the pit and away from the building thus keeping the basement and crawlspace dry. You should have one installed or clean and maintain the one you have.
- Clean the gutters: This one seems so elementary. How is it that it’s constantly forgotten? Anyway, if you want to keep water from flowing into your basement, have your gutters cleaned of leaves, branches and other debris. Full gutters are often the cause of major water damage to basements and roofs. Water spillage drains into basements and foundations causing major damage and expense. Do seasonal gutter cleanings especially if you have trees around your home.
- Contractor Inspection: Have a licensed contractor inspect your home for obvious water sources. They may recommend the above or may recommend waterproofing out side of your home.
The rains are here and snow may be coming later so make sure you take these steps to protect your basement, your home and your safety. You will not regret it.
If your home is experiencing floods or foundation problems, contact M Taylor Enterprise for a consultation. Our service areas for basement waterproofing include Montgomery County, Howard County and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.