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A Brief Guide To Preventing Basement Flooding

If you have ever had to suffer with the grief that results from basement flooding, you are well aware of how costly it can be when repairing the damage that results, especially if you use your basement as an extended living area of the home.  Backed-up sewage systems, ground water penetration, and improper drainage can all lead to a flooded basement.  Although it is nearly impossible to prevent water damage 100% of the time, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent this.

• The surrounding ground should be sloped away from the home – One of the problems that many homeowners face is that the ground slopes towards their homes and not away from them.  This usually results from backfilling and compacting the soil around the home when it is being built.  Any water that is allowed to accumulate around a home is going to eventually find its way into your basement and eventually flood it.  You can correct this by adding soil and sloping it away from your home.

• Construct a swale if your home is built on a hillside – A swale is like a valley that intersects two slopes of land and helps to drain water away from the home, especially when it has been built into a hillside.  This is one of the few solutions for correcting improper drainage issues of hillside properties.  Digging a shallow ditch around the structure will help to redirect water away from it before it has a chance to accumulate and seep into your basement.  It is also advisable to line the swale with drain tile to promote better drainage.

• Add new gutter systems or repair and replace those that are damaged – You can do this using some basic hand tools if you’re a skilled DIY’er.  Otherwise, you might have to hire a professional to do the job for you.  Damaged connections in the rain gutter should be repaired and any leaking seams need to be sealed.  You should also ensure that rain gutters slope towards the downspout and are clear of any debris.  Additionally, extend the downspout an a extra 6 to 10 feet so the water exits it farther away from the home’s foundation.

• Landscaping materials can block water drainage around the foundation – Granted, concrete landscape blocks and timbers look beautiful but these will oftentimes increase the severity of drainage problems.  Basement flooding can also result from building raised garden beds around your home’s foundation and not providing drainage for those areas.  Another concern where improper drainage is concerned are unbroken sidewalk areas.  Not having a break in those sidewalks will not allow for proper drainage so make sure they are not close to the foundation of the home.

• Install drain tile and sump pumps – Although this is somewhat costly than the other steps listed above, the investment will be worth it in the long run.  It may be your only option you have for preventing basement flooding.  It is the only solution if you live in areas with high water tables.  As a precaution, this is not a job for the average DIY’er/homeowner as it requires a great amount of labor and the use of heavy duty equipment.  You should probably discuss this with an experienced contractor.