3 Tips for Preventing Basement Leaks this Fall and Winter

Friday, October 28th, 2016 by Chantele Machado


Along with warm colored leaves and pumpkin spice lattes, autumn brings a specific set of chores to a homeowner. The fall and winter seasons are exceptionally wet here in the Pacific Northwest. Here is our list of maintenance projects that will help prevent basement leaks during your holiday season!

 Keep your Leaves out of the Gutter


Cleaning out gutters may seem like a monotonous chore, however failing to do so can lead to serious problems with your home. When gutters clog, water will pour over the sides, where it will often pool around the foundation. Over time, that water can cause cracks and inflict considerable damage to your foundation. Gutters can also become so full of debris they pull away from the home. All these complications can easily be avoided by simply removing leaves and other debris from your drainpipe and gutters. Once gutters are clear and free from obstructions, it is advantageous to add a downspout extension to guide water away from the foundation of your home.

 Get to the Root of the Problem


There are many benefits to planting trees around your home. Large shade trees can provide a cool oasis in the summer heat, potentially saving a homeowner money in energy costs. They are also aesthetically pleasing and can add value to a property. However, some shade trees such as willows and silver maples, have large, complex and invasive root systems that extend both deep and wide. These roots can wedge themselves between basement walls and the surrounding soils, they can wrap around buried utility lines crushing or bursting them. And roots can even undermine driveways, walkways and the home’s foundation itself. It’s critical to make sure the trees around your home do not have roots invading your foundation. Pruning trees can also help prevent against foliage from clogging your gutters and branches from wreaking havoc on your home’s exterior.

 Improve your Grade


If the ground around your home slopes negatively toward the building, it is likely that water pools around the foundation when it rains. The best way to get water to flow away from the home is to change the grade. It does not have to be a dramatic decline. Ideally, the degree of pitch away from the foundation should be -4.76°, about one inch drop for every foot of distance. So, if the grade is pitched 5 feet away from the foundation, the grade level should be 5 inches lower at that point. This can be accomplished by bringing in some dirt to spread around the home to create the proper grade. However, it’s important to leave at least 6” of your foundation’s wall exposed. If soil is piled too high against the wood framing of your home, it’s liable to rot.