Whew, winter is finally relinquishing its grip on us. We all hope is releases soon! There are a few things that you should start thinking about before all of those April Showers start to fall. All of these are things you can do to help prevent wet or damp basements
First of all, take a walk around your home and make sure all of your downspouts and leader extensions are still attached. Many times, these get knocked off with the heavy snow and if they don’t extend at least 5 feet from your foundation you may be susceptible to a leaking basement. Sometimes, the actual downspout clamps can come loose and the connection to the bottom of the gutter may come loose. Make sure to check both ends of the downspout when you are taking a look.
If you didn’t clean your gutters last year, you still have a chance to take care of this. Just remember, you should check your gutters again after all the blossoms open. Shedding leaves in the fall and opening blossoms in the spring are the two main sources of debris in your gutters. If the gutters are not kept clean, they can over flow and again put excessive water in places you may not want it to collect.
Since many plants are not yet growing, check the grading around your home. Ideally you should have at least a 5% grade starting next to your home and sloping away from your foundation. That equals a 3 inch drop over 5 feet. One of the best ways to see if you may have a problem is to put on a raincoat and take a walk around you home during a heavy rainstorm. If you see water pooling or running toward your home you should think about making some landscaping improvements. There are a few important points to remember.
First, if fill dirt is added, make sure it remains at least 2 to 3 inches below your siding. It is important to maintain this gap from the soil to the siding to prevent excessive moisture from remaining in contact with siding materials. This condition will cause your siding to rot and will provide a great access point for wood destroying organisms to enter your home. If you find yourself in this situation, then you may want to consider removing soil farther away from your foundation to create the proper slope.
Second, if you can maintain the 2-3 in gap from the siding to the ground by adding fill dirt but now the fill comes in contact with your basement window frames you will need to consider installing window wells. This will keep the soil away from your windows for the same reason just mentioned.
Lastly, if your home has brick veneer, there should be small weep holes spaced 1 to 2 feet apart at the bottom course. These weep holes will allow any moisture that gets behind the brick to drain. If these weep holes are plugged, this drainage system will no longer work and this can cause significant damage that won’t be visible until it’s too late.
Sometimes, there may be a more significant issue that may not be visible. In this case, don’t be afraid of contacting a landscaping professional. These contractors are trained and have the experience to evaluate your property and give you some suggestions to reduce or eliminate that nagging water problem.
If you have window wells protecting your basement windows, you should also clean these out. Many times, they are filled with leaves that will prevent proper drainage. I have seen window wells full of water and yes, from the basement the view was what one might have experienced looking through a port hole as the Titanic was sinking. You can also purchase inexpensive window well covers that will allow light in but keep excessive moisture from building up in these areas.
You should also make sure the well is also secured to your home. Occasionally these are not secured or sealed and water and debris will leak around well.
These are just a few simple things you can do to help protect your investment this spring. We hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.