Grading, Gutters and Downspouts


Keeping your basement healthy and moisture free requires some effort but can be managed by attentive homeowners.  And as with most things in life, prevention is the best approach.  Here are some outdoor tips from SEALED which will help you.


You need to establish a positive grade for the soil around your home.  Simply put, the soil should slope away from the foundation.  Your goal should be a slope of six inches of drop along the first ten feet from the home, which is a 5% slope (ten feet is 120 inches and 6 divided by 120 = 0.05).

If you have enough room from the existing ground level to the top of the foundation, you may add soil near the house and rake it to achieve the slope.  But leave some of the foundation exposed and never cover siding or wood with soil.  You should also use good quality, dense topsoil for this job.


Good gutters are vital.  They need to be cleaned and flushed at least twice a year, more often if you have large trees close to the roof.  And check to ensure they remain well secured and offer a slope toward the downspout.  A level gutter will simply hold rainwater or snow and over time the weight of the water or ice will pull the gutter away from the eave.  Run water through all gutters to ensure they are working adequately.


The downspout carries the water from the gutter to the ground, but that is not sufficient.  You want the water to move away from your home.  At a minimum install splash blocks.  We prefer the stone variety as the plastic ones are often so light that they shift in position and after a while may not remain just below the downspout or may not direct water away from the foundation.  The difference in price is just a few dollars but could help prevent problems that could cost hundreds or thousands in repair.

You may elect to add an extender at the bottom of the down spout.  We recommend one featuring flexible, plastic material.  At a home SEALED recently worked on, they added a section of downspout across the lawn, but as it was metal, over time it got stepped on and run over by the lawnmower and became useless.

If practical, the downspout can be attached to an underground PVC drain to carry the water a good distance from the house.  This can be particularly helpful on absolutely level ground. The system can be installed by handy homeowners or a contractor.  Make sure you take pictures and make a sketches of the route the drain takes in the event you need to dig around the house later and for the benefit of any future owner.

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