Grading Around House Foundation is the First Line of Defense Against Water

By:    |   Published February 20, 2020
Rocks surrounding a tree situated on a sloping hill is just one example of grading around house foundation.

Water. It is necessary for life. But there are times when it can feel like the enemy. When water is seeping, dripping or gushing into your basement, it is not your friend. So, how can you make sure to defend your home against uninvited moisture and stay on good terms with water when it comes to your foundation? Landscape grading around house foundation is the first line of defense against water and the damage it can cause.

What Is Landscape Grading?

Landscape grading refers to the grade – or slope – of the land. The grade of the land can be measured with simplistic stakes and string techniques, or by using more advanced technological site preparation tools. Either way, the grading around house foundation, or grading of your property’s landscape, refers to altering the angle in which the ground slopes.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “Drainage is important…because lack of good drainage may substantially increase the lateral load on the foundation wall if the soil becomes saturated. As required in standard practice, the finish grade around the structure should be adequately sloped to drain surface water away from the foundation walls.” This general leveling of your land is landscape grading.

When the landscape is graded, areas of your property are either filled in or some of the ground is removed to achieve the desired slope. The amount of adjustment to the grading around house foundations depends on what’s undesirable about the naturally occurring grade.

Why Is Grading Around House Foundation Important?

What is so important about grading around house foundation? There are several reasons, including aesthetics, but we will look at the practical reasons in which grading affects your home’s foundation.

The most important reason for proper grading around house foundation is to create a level area for the home itself. This is important for the stability of the home.  The second important thing that grading does is establish a natural drainage for moisture.

Poor grading around house foundations, evidenced by land sloping inwards towards the home, will drain moisture in the ground towards your foundation. This is highly undesirable because it increases the hydrostatic pressure. When water presses against your foundation, cracks will eventually form from the constant pressure. If left long enough, the foundation could become unstable or fall.

Can You Fix Poor Grading Around Your Property?

If the grading around your house’s foundation is not up to par, in most cases it can be fixed. When determining the proper grading, the general rule of thumb is that for every 10 feet you go out from your house foundation there should be a drop of about two to three inches.

When the property around a house is relatively flat, it’s often possible to add dirt around the home to add slope to the grading and help direct ground moisture away from your foundation. The best value for a project like this is dirt with high clay content. Because it is less porous, when it is compacted around your foundation, water will be directed away from your foundation before it is absorbed into the ground.

These straightforward fixes to the grading around house foundation can be DIY projects. However, if you have a more serious grading situation, it may be wiser to bring in professionals to help with adjustments that may be necessary.

Is Grading All That Matters?

While grading around house foundation is extremely important in preventing water damage for your property, it is not the only thing that matters. You can have the proper drainage and grading but if your ground becomes saturated, it is inevitable that moisture will still find its way to your foundation. For this reason, it is important to make sure you have barriers for your foundation. Additionally, ensuring a crack-free and stable foundation requires the prevention of water build-up inside the foundation as well. All the grading in the world can’t prevent water damage when the water is coming from inside the home.

This potential interior damage can be prevented when you take measures to address potential leaks in your home and can be accomplished with a sump pump.  Taking all the necessary measures possible will be your best bet in avoiding major water damage to your home and keeping your relationship with water on friendly terms.

Schedule Your FREE Annual Foundation Inspection

The best way to protect your home from water damage is with professional waterproofing. EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you find out if your home is at risk for water damage and which solutions will best serve you.

Contact us online to schedule an appointment or give us a call at (419) 469-5833 and schedule your inspection today!

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