Keeping your home safe from flooding includes keeping it safe from both interior and exterior flood waters. Interior flood waters can originate from a broken water heater, broken water line, or other malfunctioning appliances that use water. Exterior flooding can come from a high water table, excess precipitation or spring snow-melt runoff, and an overflowing nearby river or lake. Here are some methods to help keep your basement dry and protected from flood waters.
Maintain Good Roof Drainage
One of the main ways to keep your basement free of moisture and water flooding into its interior spaces is to keep your roof's water draining properly away from the foundation. When water is allowed to saturate the soil around your basement, the water's pressure can cause the water to find the path of least resistance. In this situation, water will flow through cracks, gaps, and any spaces between your home's foundation walls and floor slab.
It is important to keep water flowing down from your home's roof and away from the basement foundation and walls. This requires you to keep the gutters and downspouts working well. Throughout the year, you should clean out your roof's gutters and remove any potential clogs from the downspouts. If you find a clog in a downspout, run water through the downspout with your garden hose or spray water into it with a pressure washer until water flow is once again resumed.
Next, check the soil around your home's foundation and the condition of your downspout diverter. It is recommended to at least have a downspout diverter that delivers water to a site at least five to six feet away from your foundation walls. If the soil around your home's exterior is sandy and flat, you may want to extend the length of your diverter to deliver drain water out further away from your home's foundation walls, at a distance of ten feet or more. At the end of the downspout diverter, it is a good idea to place a splash stone or other solid surface, which spreads out the rush of roof water and prevents soil erosion.
Check the condition and slope of the soil around the perimeter of your home. Preferably, the soil around your home should slope downward at least six inches in the first ten feet away from the foundation. Build up the soil around your foundation, when necessary, to create this slope. The soil around your home should also be covered in clay soil for approximately six feet around your home, which helps water flow away from your home and helps prevent water saturating into the soil.
Install Exterior Drainage
You can also install an exterior French drain around your home's foundation to collect and divert water away from your home's interior. Ultimately, the French drain should drain the water to a collection well or other drainage site away from your home, so the water does not flow back toward your foundation. You can hire a professional to install a drain system for you, or do the work yourself.
First, you will need to excavate a 12-inch wide trench at a depth of 18 to 24 inches around your home's foundation walls. You can complete this excavation easier and faster by renting a trench digger or a mini excavator.
Place a layer of landscape fabric on the bottom and sides of the trench, filling two to three inches of clean gravel over the fabric. Using gravel containing silt or dirt will cause your drain pipe to become clogged and no longer drain water.
Lay the drainage pipe on the bed of gravel with the drainage holes facing downward. Pour gravel over the drain pipe so the trench is filled with it to within a couple inches of the top of your trench. Cover the top of the gravel with additional landscape fabric, then place soil over the fabric so you can replace the landscaping to match the surrounding ground.
Use these two tips to help you keep your basement safe from flooding. However, if you don't feel you can do these projects on your own, contact a local flood prevention service to aid you in preventing water damage in your home.