April showers bring May flowers and damp and flooded basements. There are numerous solutions to repair a leaking basement, some can be quite expensive, while others can be easy DIY solutions that you can do on a weekend. The most critical step is to identify anything that is allowing water to flow towards the foundation or puddle around it. Let’s focus today on the DIY tips:
1. Are the gutters clogged with leaves or overflowing because there are not enough downspouts on the house? Keeping the gutters clear of leaves should be part of your regular maintenance routine at the end of each Fall. Any water that is overflowing out of the gutters is going to run down the house and to the foundation. It will slowly erode the soil next to the house which can lead to cracking of the walls and ceiling or allow moisture to seep in. Be sure that water is flowing freely through the gutter system. Which brings us to the next DIY solution.
2. Inspect the downspouts. Do they extend at least 10 feet from your house? Not everyone wants to have 10 foot downspouts out onto their lawn. Admittedly you’ll have to move them to mow the lawn but it’s better than the alternative. 10 feet is the minimum distance needed to discharge water coming off the roof far enough away from your house. Otherwise the water simply saturates the surrounding soil near the foundation. Be cautious not to discharge the downspouts too close to other adjoining properties. Your neighbors will not appreciate you flooding their property.
3. Examine the paved areas next to the house, do they slope towards the house? Overtime, pavement can settle and start channeling water towards the house where it pools against the foundation. This may not be an easy DIY project, but the pavement should be removed and replaced so that it can slope away from the house. If the pavement is properly sloped away from the house it is still recommended to check the sealant where the pavement meets the home. Over time the Sealant can crack. It should be removed and replaced with new Sealant.
4. Is the ground around the home sloping away from the home at least 10 feet? If not, fill it in with dirt so that the water drains away from the house. Use a clay-type soil that sheds water instead of sandy soil that allows water to soak into the ground. Make sure that at least eight inches is kept between the top of the earth and any wood or stucco on the house to prevent rot.
There are many additional solutions some of which may require a civil engineer or if subsurface ground water is the source of the leak in the basement then you will need to consult a professional contractor.