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Help Prevent Basement Flooding


Whether you are working with an indoor pool, a damp smell or no problem at all, basement flooding is an issue most homeowners are concerned with. The range of problems caused by a wet basement can be anything from a damp smell and mold to ruined furniture, carpeting and appliances. The last thing you want after remodeling your basement is to come home to find your hardwork has been washed away. Do you know where most of these issues come from?

Almost 75% of basement water problems come from improper grading of the land around the home or from downspouts that let water out too close to the home! By looking here first you may be able to either nip your basement water problem before it becomes an issue, or at least stop it from happening again. A few small steps can help you enjoy your basement to its fullest potential.

Here are a few key grading and downspout issues to look out for:

Gutters and Downspouts:
Take a look to see if water is spilling over the top of the gutter. If it is, it will run straight down the wall of the home – a major basement water hazard. This could be caused by one of two issues. The first; is the gutter clogged? Leaves and sticks are the biggest culprits to a dysfunctional gutter system, and with a ladder you may be able to clean them relatively quickly and help increase water flow.

The second gutter problem could be not enough downspouts. Without proper drainage, the gutter can fill with more water than it can drain and it will spill over the top as if it was clogged. You may need to get up there and look to determine which problem you’re dealing with. Lancaster, PA Building Code requires downspouts every 40ft, and even this may not be enough depending on the amount of water.

Lastly, make sure your downspouts extend at least 10 feet from the home. While some homeowners don’t like the look of long spouts, this helps ensure the water is being left off to drain somewhere other than the basement.

Grading Around House:
Land grading around the house should slope away from the home for at least 10 ft. If there are holes around the foundation, you can fill them with dirt so water drains away from the house. Use a clay-type soil to divert water away as opposed to a sandy soil, which allows it to soak through.

Are any paved areas sloping toward the home? Over time sidewalks and stoops can settle and become a potential water hazard. Most likely the only fix for this would be to remove the existing paving and have it reset or replaced.

Are there any hills around that are draining water towards the home? This can be a pretty major issue, as it’s not easy to up and move a hill. A civil engineer would be able to help you determine the best solution if this appears to be the problem you are facing.


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