3 Summertime Tips to Avoid Basement Flooding
With the weather warming up and outdoor house projects moving into high gear, now’s the perfect time to not only spruce up your property but also protect your home itself from basement flooding. Heavy rain during summer thunderstorms can easily find its way into basements, and a few simple outdoor projects can help keep your basement dry throughout the summer and even into the cooler months beyond.
Here are 3 tips to consider if you have a below-grade basement:
- Clean out gutters and downspouts.
These systems can’t do their job of funneling water away from your home unless they are clear of the debris that can so easily get lodged inside. This simple task is easy to do yourself and maybe all your property needs for those rainy summer months. When clearing out the gutters, make sure the downspouts direct water at least 3 feet away from your foundation (ideally 5 to 6 feet), even if that means adding a downspout extension or trough to achieve this minimum distance. Otherwise, water can pool and begin seeping down the sides of your foundation.
- Install window well covers.
Window well covers aren’t intended to waterproof what would otherwise be a vulnerable part of your home. Instead, they help to keep leaves, soil, and other debris out of the window wells. Properly built window wells have a drain at the bottom to clear rainwater. However, if too much debris blocks this drain, water may drain slowly or not at all, leading to the potential for moisture problems around the foundation, mold, or bad odors. Clear polycarbonate plastic covers reinforced with steel will allow natural light to enter through basement windows while keeping unwanted debris out of your window wells and away from the built-in drainage system.
- Properly slope your landscaping.
The ground closest to your home around the perimeter should be slightly sloped so that water will run away from the foundation. If the land around your home is flat or even pitches down toward your home, it’s likely you’ll end up with drainage issues in your basement as water will trickle toward your house rather than away. A 5 percent grade is recommended for most homes, meaning there should be a difference of at least 6 inches in the 10 feet closest to your house. To put it another way, the land closest to your house should be at least 6 inches higher than the landscape 10 feet out from the house.
If you’re planning to redo the landscaping around your home this summer or add new bark or plants to flowerbeds, it’s the perfect opportunity to check the slope grade before you get started, as the soil can settle over time.
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