How positive is your slope?
With the rainy weather we’ve just had and a snowy winter right around the corner, it is important to take time to carefully inspect your home’s foundation and gutter system to ensure water is draining properly.
If left unattended, gutters can clog and overflow, soil can compact near the home and water can pool near the foundation. Ultimately, a poorly maintained drainage system can result in water seeping into your basement, eroding foundation walls or causing other structural damage. As a design build remodeling contractor we see these problems all the time.
This is the kind of home renovation project that many can tackle on their own without the need of a remodeling contractor. In order to prevent such damage, it is recommended that you do the following:
- Install and maintain a good gutter and downspout system. The system should be inspected and cleaned at least two times per year to ensure proper water flow. You should also ensure that concrete splash blocks are properly situated at the bottom of the downspouts to reduce soil erosion.
- Create a positive slope away from the foundation in accordance with governing building codes and engineering recommendations. The minimum slope requirement should be 5% for the first 5′ away from the foundation (3″ of drop) and then a minimum discharge slope of 1% (approximately 1/8″ drop for every foot of distance) from that point on.
- As the ground will settle over time, you may occasionally need to add more soil to maintain a positive slope away from the foundation. In many cases, settlement is severe enough to reverse or flatten the slope allowing water to pool next to the foundation and cause serious problems.
- Keep landscape irrigation away from the foundation walls. The type of vegetation may require a greater slope to avoid over saturation of the critical perimeter soil. Adding some type of ground cover is recommended to reduce erosion and lower the frequency of slope maintenance work.
With just a minimal investment of time and money, you can easily maintain your gutter and drainage system and avoid costly structural damages.