Most of us run dehumidifiers in our basements. This prevents the buildup of moisture, mold and that musty smell we all try to avoid. While the dehumidifier can help to bring down the moisture in the air, its always best to prevent moisture, or at least as much as we can, from ever entering the basement. Here are some basic steps to keep water from your basement.
6 Steps to Prevent Water In Your Basement
1. Keep your gutters clean. When clogged gutters overflow, water can pool around your foundation. Remove any leaves and debris left over from winter, then install leaf guards and downspout extenders to direct water 10 feet from the house. Extending the gutters away from the house will prevent the water from just flowing back into the basement.
2. Change the grade. Make sure surrounding soil is pitched away from the house at a slope of at least 1/4 inch per foot so that water drains toward your yard, not your foundation. Simply add soil, raking it smooth, until the grade is highest at the house’s perimeter.
3. Consider adding a French drain or swale. Many homes are built on sloping lots (even just a slight slope counts). So the water from the uphill side of the lot runs down toward the house. Consider adding a swale or incorporating landscaping to capture the water away from the house or move it to the sides of the lot where runoff can pass the house without running up against it.
4. Don’t allow trees and bushes to grow too close to the house. Shade trees with aggressive roots, like silver maples, should be planted at least 20 feet from your house to protect your foundation. Smaller species, like white fir, require only 10 to 15 feet of clearance.
5. Make sure your sidewalks and driveways are not sloping toward your foundation. You want all hard surfaces and soil to slope away from the home.
6. If you have a sump pump, make sure the drain line runs far enough from the house to prevent the water from flowing right back in. Just don’t’ dump it into your septic tank.
Some of these 6 steps for keeping your basement dry will require more work than others. Trying too change the slope of a sidewalk or driveway may be very difficult and costly, but there are ways of sealing the areas or redirecting the water flow.
Keep an eye on your basement, especially this spring. That is when most basement water issues occur. Look at the areas in your basement where water comes in and see what you can do on the outside of the house to keep the water out. Talk with a landscaping specialist about ways of keeping the water out and making your home more attractive.
Struggling with a wet basement, or want to know if you might? Call me at to schedule your home inspection today or contact me online.
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