When you’re trying to protect your home from water damage, you’ll need to consider your options from every angle. If you’ve invested in waterproofing solutions before but still aren’t seeing the results you want, it may be time to call in a home inspector. Home inspectors will not only be able to explore your basement and foundation, but they’ll be able to look at the grade of your yard and determine whether it’s driving water toward your home.
What Is Grading?
What is home grading? It’s not the process through which a home inspector awards your home a grade, though it does sound like it should be. No, home grading instead refers to the rise and fall of your yard around your home.
The best way to think of grading is through the lens of sea level. Your home is a certain height below or above sea level. Different parts of your yard are, too. Some homes were built in the lowest parts of their yards, whereas others are in the highest.
With that in mind, home inspectors refer to your home’s grading using two terms: positive grading and negative grading. These terms break down as follows:
- Positive grading
Your yard has a positive grade when your home is at the land’s highest point. Ideally, the rest of your yard should slope away from your home and foundation, even if that slope is slight. When you have a positively graded home, your foundation and basement are less susceptible to flooding.
- Negative grading
Your yard has a negative grade when your home is lower on a grade than the rest of your land. Your home doesn’t have to be at the lowest point in your yard, but your yard’s slopes will still direct water toward your foundation instead of away from it. Homes with a negatively graded yard are more likely to deal with excessive foundation or basement flooding.
When you’re purchasing or building a new home, it’s important to talk to an inspector about the grade of the land. Ideally, you’ll be able to build a new home at your land’s highest point. Alternatively, a competent construction crew may be able to terraform your yard so that the location of your eventual home becomes its highest point.
When Can You Tell If You Have Poor Grading?
Without a home inspector’s experience, you may have a difficult time determining whether or not your land’s been appropriately graded. That said, there are some signs of poorly graded land you can look out for. These include:
- Sponge-like soil
If it’s been raining for what feels like days, or if part of your yard is gathering water, you’re likely to spot over-exposed soil. This soil is sponge-like in texture and rarely dries out. If these patches appear too close to your home, your foundation can rapidly fall victim to the effects of hydrostatic pressure.
- Ineffective drainage
On a similar note, your yard and landscaping may not drain appropriately if your land is poorly graded.
- Excessive mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are a nuisance no matter where you find them. Ideally, you don’t want them flocking to your yard. Unfortunately, yards that have been poorly graded are havens for mosquitoes. These insects will happily reproduce near standing water, making your life all the more difficult.
- Dying grass and landscaping
If there’s too much water in your yard, you may notice your landscaped plants rapidly dying off. You’re not doing anything wrong as a gardener. Instead, your plants’ root systems are likely rotting due to overexposure to water. If you let your yard remain ungraded, you may start to see your grass dying off for similar reasons.
How Will Contractors Improve Your Grading?
The good news is that the contractors working in the Virginia Beach, VA, area can help you regrade your home. Sometimes, this process is as simple as building up the soil foundation around your property. There are, however, other options you can discuss, including:
- Installing a catch basin
Want to invest in a grading solution that looks visually appealing? Catch basins are grate-covered piping systems that direct water away from your home. When you cover these grates with gravel, they’ll blend right into the rest of your landscaping.
- Investing in gutters and downspouts
Cleaning out your gutters can be a pain. If you regularly clear them of gunk and grime, however, you’ll have a better chance of protecting your home from water damage. The same can be said for downspout installation. Downspouts will direct water away from the perimeter of your home and let you enjoy your property damage-free.
- Waterproofing your foundation
When in doubt, you should always talk about your available waterproofing solutions with a professional contractor. While waterproofing your home won’t fix your yard’s grade, it will make it easier for you to keep water away from your belongings.
Don’t let poor grading threaten the structural integrity of your home. Reach out to the contractors working in your area today for a home inspection and a free quote on potential repair services.