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Three G’s of Basement Waterproofing: Gutters, Grade and Groundwater


Waterproofing is an art and a science of its own. You can be battling a simple leak for years if you don’t understand the essential principles of waterproofing, and this is exactly what we are going to discuss today. Patching holes with caulk, applying dry-lock or waterproofing cement will have no use unless you are aware of the three G’s of waterproofing: gutters, grade and groundwater. In the majority of the leaky basement cases our Maryland basement waterproofing technicians work on, the problem can be traced back to one of these three factors.

Gutters

You know what gutters do, but you probably don’t realize how important their job is. Without the gutters, the roof runoff during rain would hit directly against your foundation walls. This will cause the water to pool around your home’s foundation, leading to increased hydrostatic pressure. If you had any cracks or week joints, they would gradually start letting the water through, causing a basement leak. Or if your basement door and window wells don’t have a proper seal or drainage, you will find them leaking along the perimeter.

When it comes to gutters, ensure that:

  • Gutters are always free of debris and blockages
  • Gutters are in good shape without leaks or holes
  • Downspouts drain facing away from your home

Unless your downspouts drain directly into a storm drain or a rain barrel, a distance of five feet is recommended between the foundation and the end of the downspout. Downspout extensions are available to achieve this, and you can also bury the extension part for landscaping purposes.

Grade

When we talk about grading, we mean the overall slope of your property in relation to the surrounding area. For example, if you are in a low spot and your neighbors have an artificial pond that overflows into your property during heavy rain, that’s a sure recipe for basement leaks. Even without a nearby pond, your yard may turn into a swamp if it’s naturally at the bottom of the “landscaping funnel.”

Unfortunately, you can’t lift up your home and put it on top of a hill. But what you can do is change the grading of your property, so that the ground slopes away from your foundation, making your home the highest point of your lot.

Groundwater

You might have heard about the water table. Without diving deep into geology, a water table is the top level of the groundwater, i.e. how deep you have to dig to find water. The water table fluctuates throughout the year due to the weather conditions, and it also drops in places where you are harvesting water through wells.

Some places have a naturally high water table which, in combination with heavy rains, causes the ground water to rise and press against your home’s foundation floor and walls. That’s when you get water coming up through the floor in your basement. Luckily, groundwater problems can be effectively solved with a sump pump and a basement perimeter drainage system. A french drain installed in your yard can also help dispose of the rain water before it causes the water table to rise.

Once you break it down like this, it’s easier to determine whether your basement leak is caused by the rain water, surface water or groundwater. Depending on which G is to blame, we can recommend you the best solution to stop your basement leak once and for all.

Contact Basement Waterproofing Technologies at 410-274-9682 to talk about your leaking basement.