How Your Roof Affects Your Basement
The two couldn’t be further apart if they belonged to separate homes. Your roof and your basement, your home’s polar opposites, never touching, never meeting. And yet, the effect that your roof has on your basement cannot be overstated. In fact, when it comes to the potentially damaging surface water build-up around your home, your roof may be the key factor, or culprit (depending upon how you choose to view the situation). That’s right. In many cases, basement flooding, seepage, standing water, leaks, and other moisture issues all originate at the very top of your home.
Most homeowners don’t realize how much water really builds up as rain trickles down and runs off of the roof. To get a little bit mathematical for a moment: an inch of rain covering an area of 1,000 square feet easily equals 600 gallons of water. Think about those numbers the next time you hear your local weatherperson talking about how many inches of rain your region has received recently. If all of this water builds up around your home’s foundation, well, it’s a minor miracle the whole thing doesn’t uproot itself and float away in search of dryer land.
The vast majority of roofs are sloped. This is not a purely aesthetic consideration. This slope design allows rain water to run down and tumble over the edge of the roof, pooling in gutters and pouring from downspouts. This prevents otherwise damaging water build-up. Rain gutters and downspouts represent a first line of defense against pooling water. If your gutters are clogged up with debris, rainwater will not drain properly from your roof. If water is permitted to tumble from your roof without being channeled through a rain gutter, it will more easily build up around your home’s foundation. This build-up can lead to basement water intrusion, foundation cracks, leaks, and other moisture issues.
To avoid these issues, always ensure that 1) your home has rain gutters and downspouts, and 2) those rain gutters and downspouts are in good repair and relatively free from debris. It is recommended that you attach a 6-foot extension at the base of every downspout. This directs water away from the foundation, helping you to avoid a sopping foundation.