Sunrise, FL, May 29, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Water in the basement is a frequent concern for homeowners who call The Money Pit syndicated home improvement radio show for help and advice. And they’re usually surprised to learn from co-hosts Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete that a complex, expensive basement waterproofing
effort isn’t the solution.
“Most of the time, wet basement problems originate at the roof line, where faulty drainage can send water in the wrong direction,” says Kraeutler. “The resulting roof runoff ends up in the soil surrounding a structure’s foundation, where it can easily leak through the walls or even up through the floor to start water-in-the-basement troubles.”
To prevent water in the basement, all that’s required is a little of your own time in careful investigation and minor adjustments. The Money Pit experts recommend three simple steps for a waterproof, remodel-ready basement space.
1. Clean gutters: “Clogged gutters are the number-one cause of basement water problems,” says Segrete. “When they get backed up with leaves and other debris, roof water overflows and heads straight for your home’s foundation, where the beginning of a basement leak is only moments away.”
Using a ladder, work gloves and a hose, clear the gutters by beginning at one end and moving to the other. To prevent a fall, always work from the ladder and not from the roof, and carry a supply of long lag bolts so that you can secure any loose gutter sections as you go along. When you reach the end of a gutter where the spout is, spray the hose down the gutter spout to make sure it’s clear. If the spout is clogged, try removing the debris from both ends and use the hose to flush out any that remains.
2. Extend gutter spouts: For maximum effectiveness, there should be at least one downspout for every 600 to 800 square feet of roof surface. What’s more, those downspouts should extend to discharge at least four to six feet from the home’s foundation line, so make adjustments to prevent water in the basement from being your next project to tackle.
3. Regrade the soil around your home: After you’ve ensured that drainage conditions are tip-top where the roof and gutters are concerned, some ground-level investigation is due. The angle of the soil around a foundation’s perimeter is the second major cause of wet basement problems, so adjust its slope and drainage properties accordingly.
“The ideal setup is one in which the soil slopes away from your house on a downward angle of six inches over the first four feet from the foundation wall,” advises Kraeutler. “From there, it can be graded more gradually, but should never allow water to flow back toward the house to collect against outer walls.”
Also keep in mind that the type of soil surrounding your home can ground the best-laid drainage plans and lead to water in the basement. Heavy amounts of landscaping topsoil can hold water against the foundation, so if you need to improve your grade, do so with clean fill dirt and add just a small layer of topsoil over that to support grass or other plantings. And as far as plantings themselves are concerned, don’t allow poor placement and neglected maintenance to get the better of you and your drainage system.
“Brick or wood planters and decorative edging can be foils if they’re stationed too close to the foundation,” adds Segrete. “And the same goes for dense ground covers and overgrown bushes and trees.”
Water in the basement can be frustrating, and you may feel like throwing in the towel when it happens. But most wet basement solutions are simple, and if you take a little time to investigate the most common causes of wet basement problems, they are usually relatively easy to solve.