Water Proofing Your Home
Water proofing your home is very important! From the roof to the basement (or crawl space) interior spaces must be kept dry. Water infiltration of any sort can lead to major problems such as mold, insect infestations, rotted wood, damaged masonry, or in extreme cases, even building failures. Water Proof your home now to prevent damage later. Because of their proximity to a home’s failing gutter system, rotted exterior trim boards are very common. Gutters and downspouts must be maintained; they are the number one cause of water into a home. Other common causes of water infiltration are poor drainage around your home, clogged splash blocks and underground drains, or even a leaky hose bib. Detecting water leaks can be very tricky but if you take a logical and methodical approach most homeowners should be able to detect their own leaks.
The first step is to fully understand how your home’s water shed system works, and the general principals of water flow. Gutter backups are the most common cause of water coming into a home. However many people will insist that their basement gets wet because the water table rises during wet weather. This is almost never the case! I have run across this problem before but it is very rare and usually only in extreme conditions or very low lying areas. The best procedure for water proofing your home would be to start at the top with a roof and gutter inspection and “Follow the Water”. Inspect down spouts and splash blocks, and make sure the grade is sloping away from your house.
Roof and Gutters
-Inspect roof for obvious signs of damage or missing pieces. (This can sometimes be done with binoculars)
-Inspect and clean out gutters, as needed (this should be done a minimum of two times a year for most homes)
-In springtime check that all gutters and fasteners are firmly attached (heavy snow or ice can pull them away from your home)
-Also make sure your gutters are not bent down in the middle (from snow or ice) and they flow properly.
If water is heaping over the edge or running down the side of your house because of a gutter problem then damage will occur and your basement may get wet.
Down Spouts, Splash Blocks, and Under Ground Drains
-Inspect all downspouts to make sure they are attached to the gutters properly and are connected to your house.
-Also confirm that any elbows, bends, or connections are properly attached and clear of debris.
-Make sure your splash blocks (the concrete or plastic blocks at the bottom of your downspouts) are in place and sloping away from your house.
-Some homes have under ground drains instead of splash blocks, these drains can be very prone to clogs.
-Try to confirm that under ground drains are flowing properly by using a garden hose to flush them out.
Grading and Drainage
-All dirt, mulch, grass, side walks, patios or whatever surrounds your house must slope away from the house and continue sloping for at least 8 feet.
-Make sure all splash blocks and downspouts slope with the grade.
Methods For Water Proofing Your Home
Keeping water away from the house is very important when water proofing your home. However, with some homes this is not enough or not an option at all. Installing a Drain Curtain and waterproofing membrane to your foundation walls is very effective for most conditions. But, because it requires complete excavation around all foundation walls, it is very costly. This is messy and expensive and should be done only as a last resort.
Installing a sump pump is an effective method for keeping a basement dry. When positioned in the low spot (or trouble spot) of a basement it should pump away all water under the slab before it creeps up into your home. (This water would likely be coming from poor exterior drainage NOT a rising water table)