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Poor Foundation Drainage

Overflowing gutters, clogged gutters, poor drainage grading and ineffective yard grading contribute to a wet basement. Then the water will drain next to your basement foundation, instead of away from it – then basement leaking begins.

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Poor drainage in the front yard of a home

Overflowing gutters, clogged gutters, poor drainage grading and ineffective yard grading contribute to a wet basement. Then the water will drain next to your basement foundation, instead of away from it – then basement leaking begins.

Basement Waterproofing Solutions in Virginia, Maryland, DC

Identifying & Repairing Basement Issues Related To Poor Foundation Drainage and Grading

Foundation Drainage Problem Signs

Poor Foundation Drainage


Your foundation is the bedrock of your home—literally. Whether you have a concrete slab or brick and mortar beneath your family room, you need that stabilizer in place if you want to keep your home in one piece. 

As such, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that your home stays as stable as possible while you’re still living in it. That is where foundation drainage comes into play. Most materials used to make up home foundations do not naturally drain. These materials also tend to react poorly when exposed to excess moisture or groundwater. 

Contending with Hydrostatic Pressure 

The presence of water near your foundation can cause the molecules in your building materials to rapidly expand and contract. In doing so, your foundation can come under significant stress because of this hydrostatic pressure. In order to cope with that stress, the materials you have supporting your home might crack, thereby allowing even more moisture into your space. 

A cracked or leaking foundation is a foundation that not only may begin to sink into the ground but that might also put other structural supports within your home at risk. For example, a damaged foundation can allow enough moisture into your home to cause your floor joists to start decaying. This means that you might find yourself contending with a sinking floor on top of the damage already done to your foundation. 

Identifying Your Home’s Damage 

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell when your foundation has suffered from damage. You can work with a professional, however, to walk through your home and look for any signs of damage that might be concerning. Some of the clearest signs of moisture-based foundation damage include: 

  • Unpleasant smells 
  • Mold growth 
  • Warped door frames and windowsills 
  • Standing water in your basement 
  • Seepage 
  • High levels of humidity throughout your entire home 

In short, enabling foundation drainage means that you can protect your home from significant damage later down the line. Some of the best tools to use when trying to ensure that your foundation drains consistently include interior drains and internal sump pumps.

While it is often best to leave foundation repairs to a professional, there are some steps you can take to help your foundation drain more effectively before damage sets in. Some of the most effective steps you can take include: 

Clean Your Gutters Regularly 

Your gutters keep water from reaching the perimeter of your home whenever it rains or snows. However, if you leave your gutters full of leaves or gunk, then you put your foundation at risk for unnecessary damage. You can make a point to clean your gutters and downspouts on a regular basis if you want to try and avoid the worst of the damage that might come your way. 

Grade Your Lawn 

You can also work with a professional to determine what the grade of your lawn is and how you might modify it to better protect your home. Most lawns have either a positive or a negative grade. If your lawn has a negative grade, water will run toward your home whenever it rains. To compensate for this slant, you can build up a small wall of soil around the perimeter of your home, preventing water from coming into direct contact with your foundation’s sensitive materials. 

Repair Any Existing Damage 

When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to inspect your home for damage and to work with a professional contractor to try and repair anything that may have suffered as a result of localized hydrostatic pressure. Note that you’ll always want to try and repair your home before investing in any internal waterproofing measures, as those measures may only suffer if you don’t attend to the root of your home’s moisture problem. 

Waterproof Your Home 

Finally, you always have the option of installing a home drainage system, whether your home’s brand new or on the older side. The professional contractors in your area can talk with you about your waterproofing options and can even pair an interior drain or sump pump with other measures meant to limit the amount of water your foundation comes into contact with.

CFI meeting with homeowners

What Do I Do Now?

When in doubt, call the experts. The inspection won’t cost a thing, and you won’t have to worry about a wet basement, or foundation drainage problems, since you’ll know the answer.

One of our professional basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts will perform a thorough basement inspection, including your yard drainage, looking for problem areas. Once the inspection is completed they’ll review their findings with you and make recommendations to keep your basement dry.

Poor Foundation Drainage Solutions

If we find that you have a wet basement because of ineffective foundation drainage, poor yard grading or clogged gutters then we may recommend one of these solutions: LawnScape or DownSpout Extensions.

These products aren’t always the solution to your wet basement and ineffective foundation drainage, so it is important to talk to an expert to find the best solution for your wet basement.

Our certified professional basement waterproofing consultants will work with you, every step of the way, to design the best basement waterproofing solution for your home.


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