November 3, 2016

IMG_5750When it comes to keeping rising waters out of your home, whatever surrounds your house often is just as important as the building itself, which is because your common basement flooding issues may stem from your landscaping plan. Below are seven lawn care tips to stop basement leaks before they start.

1. Change the grade of your slope
To stop basement leaks before they start, make sure the surrounding soil pitches away from your house, sloping at least a quarter of an inch per foot to ensure water drains towards your yard and not the foundation. You can change the gradient of your slope by adding soil and raking it smooth until the grade at the perimeter of your house is higher than the rest.

2. Keep trees in check
Your basement might develop leaks as a result of cracks in the foundation of your house. To protect the structure and avoid such cracks, plant every tree that has aggressive roots such as silver maples at least 20 feet away from your house. Comparatively smaller species such as white fir require 10-15 feet of clearance.

3. Grade your lawn in the most suitable direction
Landscape slopes running towards your house as opposed to away from it usually result in basement leaks. To fix this issue, you can dig a dry creek in your yard and fill it with cobblestones or river rock, allowing the water to bisect your lawn and then flow around the sides of your house instead of towards it.

4. Leave a gap between siding and mulch
Because moisture usually wicks up from mulch beds to rot the siding, it is important to keep the mulching materials away from your siding and leave a 6-inch gap when mulching your landscape. Your mulch can touch blocks or bricks, but not the siding.

5. Use grass barriers to redirect the floodwaters
Go outside and examine the basement when it’s raining to determine where the leaks originate from. Because the overflow into a nearby ditch might not be enough to prevent flooding, you may see pools of water, a clear sign of drainage problems. As such, you can build grass barriers to redirect the floodwaters away from your home. You can also create a drainage path for the water.

6. Direct downspouts away from your house
To keep the water farther away from your house, extend your downspouts away from the structure. If you have the room, allow at least 20 feet from the house and ensure the gutters are clear so that water flows through the downspouts. Some yards still get erosion whenever gutters fail to handle the water volume even with redirected downspouts. In such cases, you can use decorative rocks such as river stone to ensure the water hits and splashes instead of digging holes in the soil.

7. Install a French drain
If you do not necessarily want to splice your yard, you could install a French drain, in which the water will flow into a gravel trench and then a pipe. In addition to a French drain, you should also ensure your sump pump runs far enough away from the house. If it does not run far enough, you should extend the drain lines from your sump pump and downspouts.