Anyway with all this rain you might notice some water seeping through your foundation walls and even some water running across your basement floor. There are several reasons for this but one of the most common is something we in the business call negative grading. I’m not talking about report cards and gold stars but the ground level around your house and how it drives where rain water flows.
So let’s stop right here for a minute and talk about what usually causes a negative grade issue…
When the contractor excavated for your foundation, they over-dug by several feet to allow working room to build the foundation walls. Once completed, they back-filled the void, creating a positive grade (slope) away from the foundation. This disturbed back-fill continues to settle and compact for 100’s of years and this folks can cause negative grade.
Proper grading around your home is absolutely essential.
You must have a minimum five-degree slope away from your home, on all sides. What’s a five-degree slope? If you measure six feet away from the foundation, the ground should be three inches lower than the ground next to the house. Having a five-degree slope prevents water from pooling around your foundation. Remember, concrete isn’t waterproof. That means it doesn’t matter how watertight a foundation might be; if water is there long enough, it’s going to get in.
So what can you do about correcting a negative grade issue? Well it’s a pretty easy fix actually.
Remove any raised flowerbeds, mulch, or any soft topsoil and install good ol’ clay to build up the area of concern. It would help to compact the clay as you’re spreading it around too. Keep in mind the 5-degree slope rule. After the clay is compacted you can put topsoil over it or put your flowerbeds back.
A home requires a lot of maintenance and I can’t stress how important this particular item is. If you have a negative grade issue fix it as soon as possible.