So Did Your Basement Flood?

where does the water go
This is how water gets into the basement

The safest bet I can make is that I’ll get numerous calls about flooded basements after a long day of heavy rain. Tonight was no exception. There are many reasons basements fill with rain water, from cracks in foundations to water pouring down bulkhead stairs. Tonight all my calls were from the same cause: poorly installed or maintained downspouts.

downspout with leader2

The best way to avoid flooding is to make sure water doesn’t pool at your foundation. To keep water out of the basement you need to get it away from the house. Missing gutter leaders at the bottom of the downspout are the primary culprits. I’ve also seen sump pump hoses not extended far enough away from the house which doesn’t help the cause either. Please get rid of any downspouts which “mysteriously” disappears into the ground at the foundation, unless you know the pipe comes out to “daylight” somewhere else on the property.

Gardeners love to pile too mulch up against your foundation to make your garden pretty. In addition to creating a cozy home for ants & termites, in many case you are trapping water against the house or even worse creating a dam which directs water back to the foundation or a convenient window well. Get rid of the mulch within a few feet of the foundation and put in small 3/4′ stones. You can buy bags of stone at a hardware store or have a landscaper put them in for you.

In all of the cases tonight my clients had no idea that the water was pooling at their foundations. So when the rain stops–and it will, eventually!– go out and take a walk around your property and see if you need to make some adjustments, add some pipe, or remove some mulch. You’ll be saving yourself major hassles in the next downpour.