Does NJ Surface Water Erode Your Basement Foundation?
Monday, March 18, 2013 • 2:26pm
Water is erosive. Left unchecked it can carve a path through the earth to your foundation. Once that occurs, it clears the way for more water to get to the foundation more quickly in the future. That erosion paves the way for water intrusion into the basement and the costly repairs and cleanup costs associated with a flood basement.
Today I want to talk about surface water which is water that comes from rainfall. Surface water can often be diverted away from your home. Diverting surface water from the foundation can help to protect the foundation and stave off more costly repairs such as sump pumps and French drains.
Surface water is much different than ground water, and again, much different from a high water table. Surface water comes from above, while ground water and the water table come from beneath your home.
The first rule about dealing with water and your foundation is: Keep as much water away from the foundation as possible.
That is accomplished in two ways.
- Leaders and gutters
The grade is also called slope, incline, pitch or rise of the land. The grade refers to the amount of inclination of that surface to the horizontal. How much slope is there? Grade or slope is applied to measuring existing physical features such as roads, landscape and garden grading.
There is garden grading and negative grading.
Garden grading is easy to fix; pump up your flower beds and landscape beds adjacent to the house. A trip to the home mega-store for a few bags of topsoil can make a world of difference. Pump the beds up drastically; make the slope as deep as possible from the house to the end of the bed.
Negative grade, or ground sloping back towards the building, is the more difficult situation to remedy. Sometimes the slope of the land is working against the home and could require a regrading of the yard to redirect the water around the property. The ideal slope is a minimum 1" per foot from the home for the first 10 feet. Then a gradient decline until a minimum of 1” per 10 feet is achieved. Many times the sidewalks or patio has settled allowing water to pond against the foundation. If the concrete is in decent shape the walk or patio can be mudjacked. If the walk or patio is broken into several pieces then replacement may be the only option.
LEADERS and GUTTERS:
The other main cause can be easier to remedy. Gutters and downspouts are designed to collect and divert water away from the home. Clogged gutters and downspouts terminating against the home can put a tremendous amount of water around the foundation in a very short time. That water is going to follow the path of least resistance which often times is into the basement or crawlspace. Properly maintained gutters and downspouts extending at least 10 feet from the home can go a long way to keeping the basement dry.
These are preventative steps to be taken before you have water intrusion. If you follow this advice and keep as much water away from the foundation as possible you may stay dry for a long time. This is not to say that there are not times when a waterproofing company is needed. If water is penetrating the foundation and entering the basement, call a professional.
Should I get my Basement Inspected?
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Doug Lynch is a basement expert from Westfield, NJ where he lives with his wife Kelli and their dogs Sammy and Angie. Doug teaches a class at Westfield Adult School “Keeping Your Basement Dry” and is the Author of Basements 101 Everything You Need to Know About Your Basement. Doug has testified in NJ Superior Court as an Expert Witness in Basement Waterproofing and does seminars for local Real Estate Agents to educate them about basements. Doug is the owner of A-1 Basement Solutions in Scotch Plains and authors the popular BASEMENT SCHOOL Blog.
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