The current excellent weather is making us all feel like spring is around the corner, and we hope all the forecasts that agree are correct! When it comes to large amounts of snow, this wasn’t a year for the record books. It most certainly wasn’t as bad as last year when it snowed nearly 40 inches in February in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean our basements are safe from water intrusion as the snow melts under this month’s warm spring sun. There are three ways for you to ensure your house will be safe from water intrusion so that you won’t have a wet basement this Spring.
Gutters and downspouts
Without a proper gutter system, water from melted snow and rainwater may pond next to your house, causing a major problem. It will saturate the soil and begin to seep into the cracks leading to water damage, and a wet basement.
Of course, in most cases only having gutters isn’t enough, you need downspouts. Without downspouts, gutters will just push water directly towards your house, and you will have the same problem you’d have if you hadn’t had gutters at all. Properly installed downspouts and downspout extensions will help water flow away from your home’s foundation. In a perfect world, your downspouts will extend at least four to five feet from your house.
Last but certainly not least, make sure your gutters are clean. Dirty and overflowing gutters will make a wet basement the least of your worries. They can be a major issue and can cause roof leaks and other forms of water intrusion. There are several tools on the market for the home handyman, or you can call a professional to do it for you.
Sight check your home’s grading
Poor grading is oftentimes the reason for flooding in basements. Poor grading is easy to detect. Go outside and look at the foundation of your home. If the ground is sloping towards your home or is allowing water to form a pond next to your home, then you have an issue. The remedy for poor grading is to change the landscaping around your house.
You don’t need to get too creative or extreme with this. Sometimes all it takes to fix this problem is to simply bring in some dirt and place it against your foundation so the ground slopes away from your home rather than towards it. One thing to look out for when you do this is to not pile the dirt up too high. Keep the dirt at least 6 inches from the top of your foundation wall. The reason for this is if you pile the dirt to high you run the risk of rotting your wood framing or allowing wood-boring insects to enter your home. We don’t want that.
Maybe you’re in a situation where your home is too close to your neighbors to allow for proper grading, or maybe your grading is already within 6 inches of the top of your foundation and you are still having trouble with water in your basement, then the next course of action may be to create a series of swales. Swales are like shallow ditches, and they will help divert water away from your home.
If you aren’t familiar with working on a project like this, the best course of action would be to contact an excavation contractor to advise you.
Consider a sump pump… or test the one you already have
Your gutters and your grading will be two very important aspects of keeping your basement dry this Spring, but also make sure to test your sump pumps as well.
A functioning sump pump will be very helpful in avoiding flooding. If you haven’t checked your sump pump in a while, now is the time, as they are recommended to be replaced if they are more than five years old. You may also want to consider getting a backup sump pump, and a water alarm for your sump pump in the case that something does go wrong. You will be able to find several of either of these with a simple Google search.
Turn to the Pros at Shelter Construction
At Shelter, we perform free inspections and consultations. We will perform minor repairs during the examination to small damage that we find. Call us at 612-284-6985 or schedule an inspection today on our website!