If a yard has grading problems, there will likely be water pooling up next to the foundation or along the basement windows of a home. Eventually, the moisture will be able to find its way inside, and this can cause a lot of problems for the homeowner. Whenever a home is first built, the foundation extends a few inches above ground level. However, as a homeowner starts to add various types of landscaping of their own, and hard surfaces to the property (sidewalks, driveways, patios, porches, etc.), water will start to build up next to the foundation.
Additionally, a home can have a grading problem in the yard if the lawn or a neighbor's lawn is sloped downward toward the foundation. Whenever it rains, or when there is melting snow on the lawn, all of the moisture will roll down the hill and puddle up next to the foundation or basement windows. Eventually the pressure will prove to be too much on the home, and the water will seep inside through mortar joints, porous concrete, through a basement window, through wall cracks, or even over the top of the foundation itself.
Warning Signs of a Grading Problem
If you notice any of the following problems, then you likely have a grading issue at your home:
- Water pools up in spots on the lawn after a heavy rain.
- Water pools up next to the foundation walls or by the basement windows.
- Water can be seen trickling down the walls inside of the basement from the top of the foundation.
- Stains have formed inside the basement on the walls, floors, or ceiling.
- Mold can be seen growing on the walls starting from the top of the foundation.
Importance of Keeping the Basement Dry
Even if the basement of the home is not finished, steps need to be taken to keep it protected from moisture due to a problem with the grading of a home's lawn. Moisture here can cause serious and expensive damage. It can damage all wooden materials, including support beams, floor joists, stair cases, banisters, and so on. The wood will start to warp, rot, and deteriorate, causing the home to be structurally un-sound.
Also, the water can eventually spark the development of dangerous mold or mildew below the home. This can cause a variety of serious health conditions, including: headaches, skin and eye irritation, allergies, fatigue, asthma attacks, and other types of respiratory problems. Mold can also make a home smell very musty.
Taking Care of Yard Grading Problems
A professional waterproofing contractor will be able to determine how and why water is able to get into your home. If it's because of a grading problem on the lawn, they will be able to figure out what areas on the property are causing the issue. Additionally, it is a good idea to get an exterior waterproofing membrane installed on the outside of the foundation wall. This barrier will prevent moisture from being able to get into the home through hairline cracks in the foundation. The membrane has small dimples which let moisture pass through and into an exterior drainage system so that it can't puddle up next to the home.
Also, a French drain can be installed on the lawn to prevent water from pooling up in low-lying spots after a heavy rain, or when there is a lot of melting snow on the lawn.