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Land Grading and How Draining Issues Hurt Your Home’s Foundation

September 17, 2018

Land grading and how draining issues hurt your home's foundation

When building or adding onto a home, it is imperative that the land under and around your foundation be appropriately graded so that you will not have any problems. When you have rain or snow or even when watering your yard, the runoff should not pool next to the home.

If you are currently building a house in the Houston area, your builder should know how the land needs to be graded, sometimes called house leveling, so that things such as pooling are not an issue at the time of building, but you should still have it check before moving into the home as some of the grades can be changed during construction. Even though most houses are placed on the right degree, over time the building will settle, thus altering the grade around the home.

If you are currently living in a home that is having problems with water intrusion and/or foundation problems due to the property not presently being appropriately graded, you will need to know what you can do to help correct the problem, or when you will need to hire a pro to take care of it for you. First, you should know what types of issues can be caused by improper grading, and then we will look at some of the things that you can do to help rectify the situation.

Issues That Hurt Your Home

  • Incorrect Pitch

    If your residence sits on a sloped area, but instead of water draining away from your house, it pools next to it or gets absorbed into the ground next to the foundation, you will need to get this evaluated.
  • Flooding

     When you get a substantial amount of precipitation and it floods around any part of the foundation.
  • Weakening of Foundation

    If the land around the home is not what it needs to be it can cause the foundation to crack and weaken, as well as the walls, and can put the building in jeopardy if not corrected promptly.
  • Settling

    As stated before, every structure settles over time, but the amount can be more significant if either the land grading is off or there has been an issue such as drought, flooding or ground shifting.
  • Dampness Issues

    These can range from water seeping through the foundation walls, mold, mildew, or a musty smell. You will be able to notice dampness problems the most if you have a crawlspace under your home.

Rectifiable Helps

Things such as the type of soil the foundation is built on, as well as the kinds of plants or trees, rocks, and paved surfaces that surround your home can play a part in harming the land grading to your structure. It is recommended that there be a downward slope of around one inch per foot going out six feet from the building. But even if you do not have these issues, it is good to have somewhat of a slant downward away from the house.

  • Know Your Grade

    This is one of the most important things and if you are not able to do this, you will need to contact someone to determine this for you. Once you know the grade, you will be ready to go from here in deciding what steps you will need next.
  • Adding Soil

    If your grade is not what it needs to be and you can build it up around the foundation by adding additional soil, this can be a good fix. However, again, it will depend on the type of dirt that is being put down. You must also take stock of the vegetation that might be around your home. Contacting a foundation specialist can help you know what needs to be done. After you have added soil, you will need to make sure that it will not erode away easily.
  • Gutters and Drains

    If you do not currently have gutters and drains you might want to consider them, as you can ensure that the pipes flow far enough away from the residence and not pool around the bottom.
  • Overhangs

    The size of an overhang can make a big difference on where the water runs off. Of course, the larger the better. If you can combine this with gutters and downspouts, it can help immensely.
  • Mulch

    This can help a foundation not to dry out as quickly when the weather is dry, but it can also damage a foundation if it is right up next to the base of the home in times of too much moisture. It is best to have the mulch no closer than six inches to the outside of your house.
  • Hire a Pro

    If you do not have the opportunity to build up the slope around your home, an excellent provisional plan is to hire a knowledgeable landscaper that can help you to keep water and ground movement at a minimum.
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Mark Jacobs

Written by Mark Jacobs

Customer Service Manager Mark developed a passion for foundation repair in his formative years. Growing up in the family business has shaped the way he looks at homes and his ability to solve problems - from the ground up! He loves to read and keep up with the new technology that is constantly developing in the foundation repair industry. Outside of work, he loves adventuring with his family, spending time by the water, and has a passion for cooking.

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