Keeping Water away From House Foundation -Divertion & Drainage Solutions

Looking to Keep water away from the Foundation of your House?

In this guide you will learn:

  • Common Causes of Pooling Water Near Foundation & Problems this can create,
  • How to Keep Water Away from your House Foundation,
  • Best Water Divertion Strategies to keep your Foundation Dry,
  • How to Use Landscaping to protect your Foundation from water damage.

Your home’s foundation is its most important structural aspect and keeping water away from it is part of maintaining its longevity.

Water will erode your home’s foundation and cause things like cracks in the walls and floor, leaning doors, and much worse if left untouched over time.

Most homes will have a proper drainage system that ensures water from rain does not flood the soil around the foundation or get into your basement (if you have one).

It is necessary to make sure these are working properly and, if you find any problems, that they get fixed before the next big storm. 

Importance Of Proper Drainage Around House Foundation

Your home cannot stand without a proper foundation and a damaged one will also damage the rest of your home with it.

A proper drainage system is like a barrier around your house that keeps water from eroding it away.

Sometimes, water can seep onto the top of a home’s foundation and cause a wet sill plate to form.

A wet sill plate will push this moisture that seeps in upwards and into your walls and floors.

This can cause an endless amount of serious issues including leaks, mold/mildew, wood rot, termites and much more.

A proper drainage system is absolutely necessary to keep your home’s foundation intact.

There are plenty of problems that can occur from standing water pooling around foundations, some can even be life threatening from the diseases they can cause.

In the cool, humid environment of a basement with standing water in it, black mold and mildew can easily grow.

Black mold is well known to cause lung diseases such as mesothelioma that are incurable and can be life-threatening after long exposure.

Of course, there are also the structural issues that standing water can cause such as leaning walls, cracks in the flooring, and sagging door and window frames.

This can cause doors and windows to not close properly and create drafts as well as spaces for bugs to crawl in.

Without proper drainage, rain water can also easily seep into a home’s basement and create pools of water on the floor.

If any of these pools of water start around your foundation, this will cause it to quickly erode and damage your home.

Floods from overflowing rivers or lakes are one of the most common causes of water pooling near foundations that can cause water damage.

The water can even find its way in through the oversaturated soil and cause puddles to form even if there is concrete around your house to prevent water from getting in.

Water Damaged Foundation?

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How to Keep Water Away From House Foundation

Figuring out how to drain water away from your house can go one of a few ways and, in this section, we will go through the best ways to keep water away from the foundation of your home.

These preventative measures can seem daunting at first but being able to spot warning signs before serious problems arise can not only save your home, but a hefty amount of money as well.

1.Clean The Gutters

Installing gutters is among the most popular ways to ensure rain water does not find its way onto your foundation.

When gutters are working properly, they collect rain above your foundation and allow the water to freely flow towards a downspout where it collects safely away from your home.

Keeping your gutters free of leaves and other debris that can clog them up is something you should do at least twice per year or after a strong storm that may have blown branches and leaves onto your roof. 

Cleaning your gutters is a messy job and most do not enjoy doing it but it can be done without professional help.

Simply taking the debris out of the gutters using protective gloves is how you ensure gutters can drain water away from your house.

2.Make Sure The Downspouts Work Properly

Downspouts should be draining water at least 10 feet away from your home’s foundation.

Sometimes, this can require you to extend or move your downspout and, while this is not a terribly difficult task, it’s better left in the hands of someone with experience.

Your gutters could be working perfectly fine but, if the downspout is not draining water far enough away from your home or in the wrong direction, your home’s foundation could be at even worse of a risk.

3.Keep An Eye On Older Plumbing Systems

It is not always natural causes that create water around your home’s foundation.

Your sewage and drainage pipes are, usually, right next to the foundation and if one of them breaks or leaks it can cause water to pool up very quickly.

Older homes will usually have older pipes and keeping an eye out for rust damage or cracks in them is something that you should do at least twice per year.

Keep your ears open for any dripping sounds or if your pipes are making any strange noises when you use the sink or toilet.

Replacing pipes can be an expensive endeavour but catching small cracks is a much easier fix and, while this job should still be done by a plumber if you don’t have experience, it shouldn’t cost too much or take too long.

However, broken or burst pipes can cause flooding around the foundation and this is an expensive, time-consuming repair no matter how you look at it.

Just draining out the water and drying out the damaged areas is a large project in itself.

The repairs for any structural damage which, when it comes to flooding is typically a lot, will be a whole other beast.

4.Don’t Let Your Soil Dry Out

Especially in areas prone to long droughts, this is something you will have to pay attention to if you don’t want the next rain to damage your foundation.

You may think dry soil around your foundation means a lesser chance for any water damage but, eventually, the next storm will cause a rapid expansion of soil that can quickly cause stress cracks in your foundation.

This somewhat depends on the type of soil you use around the foundation of your home and expansive soils are fairly common and, typically, a good thing to have around your home.

If you begin to see the grass around your home turning brown or the ground getting hard and dusty, it may be time to get out a hose and water it yourself.

This way, if a storm does come over the next few days, the reexpansion of the soil when it absorbs the rain water won’t be as dramatic and your foundation will be able to withstand the pressure.

Despite the many ways it can become damaged, a home’s foundation can withstand a fair amount of pressure and a few simple checks around your house can ensure that it’s in peak condition, which is exactly how it should be.

Lastly…Make sure to Look At Your Walls After Strong Storms

In general, keeping the structural integrity of your house in check is something you should do at least once a year or after a strong storm. Both heavy rain and strong wind gusts can cause damage to your home’s foundation and it is important to spot the warning signs early before the problem becomes much worse.

It is a good idea to take a close look at the walls and floors of your home on occasion, especially around the foundation. If you spot any cracks or moisture on them, make sure there is no standing water around them or inside the cracks.

Smaller cracks can be repaired by closing them with a water proof sealant like caulk or cement but it’s important to make sure that no water is still inside the cracks.

The sealant will actually work against you and trap the water inside the cracks to only do more damage to the foundation over time.

If you spot a large crack or you can’t get all the water out completely, it is time to call in a professional so they can assess how bad the damage is and how quickly it can be repaired.

Again, it’s always better to get this step done quickly because, the longer the water stays there, the more damage it will cause.

How To Divert Water Away From Foundation

This section will tackle a few ideas to drain water away from your house including the most common methods and some of the different, yet still effective ways to route water away from your house’s foundation.

There are ways to alter the landscaping around your house to prevent water from getting into your foundation.

Site grading, adding a waterproof barrier around your home, or planting plants are all ways you can keep water away from your foundation without touching your drainage system.

These can take some time and hard work to pull off but most of these ideas can be done DIY-style and will even improve your home’s selling value, which we’ll go into more depth in the following section.

Putting something like a bed of flowers or a gravel barrier around your foundation can add a nice safety net just in case your drainage system fails.

While these can require some extra upkeep, they will definitely help ease any worries you have about water getting into your foundation and causing damage.

1.French Drains

One of the best methods to get water away from your foundation is improving the drainage around it.

All homes need a drainage system around them that collects rain water and ensures it finds its way to a storm drain or the ground away from the foundation.

An alternative method of improving drainage around your foundation is through using a french drain which are usually perforated pipes that allow the water to freely flow in a desired direction.

Oftentimes, these pipes are covered with gravel or rocks to aid in filtration and keep the pipes in place.

While some believe this is an outdated method of draining water away from your home it is still a viable and very effective method.

2.Site Grading

Site grading and grading yard away from house is likely the most labor intensive method of diverting water away from a foundation but is certainly a great long-term fix for water drainage.

This method will involve changing the landscape around your foundation to encourage water to drain away from it.

Site grading is a rather popular way of fixing foundation drainage issues in homes that were built on land that actually encourages water to flow towards the foundation.

Site grading is something you will likely have to do if your home was built on uneven land like this.

This can be done DIY, however, it takes a lot of digging and a fair amount of time.

So, if you’re not used to long hours of manual labor or are unfamiliar with the tools you’ll need to do the job, call a professional to help.

Site grading is usually only necessary if your home’s foundation was built in a bad location that allows water to flow towards it rather than away or into your drainage system.

3.Soil Grading Around Foundation

Using soil for grading around the foundation is a method that works fairly well in conjunction with a gutter system.

The soil can absorb any excess water and also allow it to flow away from the home and into a storm drain.

Topsoil is the best option if you want to go down the path of grading your yard using soil. Topsoil is very absorbent and can not only help through this absorption but, if done correctly, can work like a draining system and reroute water away from your foundation.

4.Add A Barrier

One of the methods on how to protect your home’s foundation is to add a gravel barrier around the house.

Plenty of homes use this and it can actually increase its value and look quite good from the outside.

Gravel barriers can add an extra layer of protection on top of your foundation and, even if your gutters overflow, the water will not be able to seep through the gravel and will safely flow away.

5.Plant A Garden

Strangely enough, you can use plants to keep water away from your house as well.

This is another way to not only prevent water from damaging your foundation, but increase its value and make it look nicer.

You should still use a drainage system in conjunction with it but the garden itself can make for a great safety net for your foundation.

Any excess water that doesn’t get caught in the gutters will be absorbed by the plants’ roots and be kept away from the foundation of your home.

However, be wary of the insect problems a large garden can cause and do not overwater your garden as this is bad for both your foundation and your plants. 

How To Drain Large Amounts Of Water Away From House Foundation

In the event of flash floods, extensive water damage can occur to a foundation and you will need professional help to drain and dry the water.

Industrial grade equipment is often used to drain water away from a home after it has become flooded and drying it can take a day or longer depending on how much water got into the affected area.

This is an emergency situation and is usually covered by home insurance if it ever does occur.

So, if you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it is a good idea to have flood insurance for your home as this is a very expensive repair without it.

Water Has Completely Soaked The Foundation – What To Do?

A completely soaked foundation is something that has to be tended to as quickly as possible and it could be dangerous to stay inside a home with a completely soaked foundation.

In the event of a flood or a burst pipe, the foundation can become horribly damaged and can even cause your home’s walls to collapse or sinkholes.

This is something that needs to be handled by professionals.

As mentioned earlier, in emergency situations, home or flood insurance can cover the cost of repairing a soaked foundation.

However, your home could become unusable for the time that’s needed to drain the water and repair the likely structural damage.  

When To Call A Professional

In the event of an emergency such as a flood or a burst pipe, you should always call a professional to help drain water and repair any damage caused to your foundation.

However, careful planning and preventative measures can be done by yourself to keep your foundation standing strong.

Your home’s foundation may not be indestructible but it can be maintained and reinforced so water will not be able to damage it so easily, at least, not on your watch.


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