Flooded basements can cause major headaches for homeowners. Cleaning up is not easy and damages can be costly to repair. There are several reasons that a basement can flood and several cures for the problem. The first part of this series deals with the easiest solutions for minor flooding problems.
Flooding due to poor drainage:
Heavy rainfall over a period of several days can cause minor flooding problems in homes that do not have proper drainage. The situation becomes worse when heavy rainfall occurs recently after a thaw in early spring. It takes time for water to reach the footer of a basement. The flooding may not occur until a day or more after the rain has stopped.
Homeowners that experience this type of flooding problem actually have some fairly easy and low cost solutions that they can try before taking any extreme measures. Understanding why there may be a problem is also simple. Consider the size of the roof and the fact that all of the rain falling on the roof is being dispersed in only a few areas. This adds up to a great deal of water that is added to water falling directly on the sides of the home.
The first step in solving this type of a flooding problem is to extend the ends of the downspouts farther away from the foundation of the home. Underground downspouts are an option but it is easier to just add additional length to carry water farther away. Adding a three to six foot length of pipe will usually be enough to reduce smaller flooding problems.
Splash blocks can be helpful. Some types are available with a hinge to fold up out of the way when yard work is being performed. In emergency situations, plastic rollup pieces can be used. The roll-up types are designed to unroll when it is raining and roll back up to stay out of the way. Unfortunately they do not always last long and do not work well in winter due to freezing.
The next step to take to reduce minor flooding problems is to check the grading around the home. Proper grading should drain water away from the foundation. The slope away from the home should be one inch per foot minimum over a six to eight foot distance. This may not always be possible but even small increases can help. Adding one or two inches of soil around the foundation, with grass, will improve the slope away from the home. If a driveway or patio area against the foundation prohibits raising the area, make sure that the edges are sealed.