Foundations and Water Control

Water, Water Everywhere!  We know that most of our heavy rains come in the spring and summer seasons. When the ground is already saturated with water after melting snow, the water has to go somewhere.

Foundation Types

  • Old stone foundations are probably the most sturdy and have withstood the test of time. However, they are known to seep and leak. This type of foundation is the most difficult to waterproof or control leaks and seepage.
  • Concrete block foundations are also prone to leaks and seepage. This type of foundation is more sensitive to excess soil and water pressure and can fail more easily.
  • Concrete foundations can be more stable and stronger than block. Shrinkage type cracking in concrete foundations is common, but can allow water to enter the basement or crawl space under certain conditions.

Simple things mean a lot when it comes to reducing the chances of water entering your basement or crawl space. Spending a lot of money waterproofing your foundation may be necessary at some point, but why not try the simple, least expensive things first.

Take Action Early!  Water comes from the outside, so let’s start there first.

  • Soil Grade: Standing water at the foundation wall will most likely enter a wall crack and eventually into your basement. Make sure the soil near your house foundation slopes away. Measure at least 3 feet away from the foundation. The soil grade should slope down or away at least one inch per foot.
  • Roof Drains: Clean your gutters as soon as possible. There are several ways to keep debris and leaves out of your roof gutters and spouting. If your gutters spill over, the water ends up near your foundation and can eventually leak into the basement.
  • Window Wells: Keep your window wells clean. Debris collected in your window wells can prevent proper drainage. The excess water can enter your basement through the window openings.

Inside Your Basement

  • Sump Pumps: If your basement has a sump pump, is it working properly? Battery powered or the new water powered emergency back-up pumps can be a good investment. Having a qualified contractor install an emergency back-up system can save money and headaches.  These systems can keep your basement dry if the main pump fails or the house electricity is out for an extended period. Ask your insurance agent about your homeowners policy. A good, working back-up system may help save money.
  • Wall Cracks: Most often, foundation cracks are usually minor and not a structural concern. However, any crack can allow water to enter your basement under the right conditions. Having cracks injected by a qualified professional contractor is another way to keep your basement dry.

Spring rains should water your flowers and not your basement.

Questions or Comments?

Wayne D. Jones, Senior Professional Inspector, Land America Property Inspections. 513-583-5522