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Proper Grading Around the House to Prevent Basement Flooding

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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 matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. 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