The Foundation of your home supports the entire structure. The foundation also keeps water from seeping into the basement of the home.
It is important to keep the basement waterproofed and dry and to prevent moisture problems from developing.
Proper drainage and grading carries surface water away from the foundation. This is essential during periods of heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. Surface water can be described as water from rainfall, sprinklers, hoses, etc.
Basement doors and windows should be properly sealed and caulked to prevent water entrance. Do not change the drainage pattern of your yard in a way that would cause water to run toward the house.
When your house was initially built, the yard was graded so that the ground would gently slope away from the house in all directions. As the soil settles over the years, it can sometimes form a low area which traps surface water. The trapped water can then seep through the foundation into the basement. If this occurs, fill these depressions and re-plant to prevent erosion.
Check concrete walkways and patios as they can settle too and can cause water to run toward the foundation of the house. Flower beds and perennial gardens around the house should also be checked.
Concerns With Ground Water
A footing drainpipe is normally laid along the base of the foundation when a house is built. A basement wetness problem caused by ground water may indicate the pipe is either damaged or clogged.
If surface water is being properly diverted away from your foundation and you still have basement wetness, ground water may be the problem. If water seeps through the floor, at the joint between the floor and basement wall or at a lower point of the wall itself, it is usually due to the presence of ground water.
Ground water may be caused by seasonal high water tables or underground springs and seeps. If your home is in the flood plain of a nearby stream or creek, it may be affected during periods of heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. If the house was built in the path of a natural drainage way or on a site that is lower than the surrounding area, your foundation could also be affected.
Gutters & Drainage
Self-cleaning gutter protection systems are a very low maintenance way of keeping your gutters flowing. They should be professionally installed and are available in new and retrofit systems. Make sure that your downspouts are sound and unclogged.
Gutters are used to divert the rain that falls on your roof away from your foundation. Roof runoff from a 2500 sq. ft. roof is equal to 1500 gallons for each 1 inch of rain. Factor this by the annual rainfall and it becomes clear that properly working rain gutters and downspouts are important in order to carry water away from the house.
If ground water is not properly channeled the resulting hydrostatic pressure can force water into the basement of your home through cracks in the floor and foundation walls. This problem needs to be corrected as quickly as possible in order to prevent these cracks from enlarging.
When you move into a new home, it is a good idea to have a professional come out and inspect the gutters to make sure they are working properly. It is good to get references to make sure that the professional you choose comes highly recommended.