Fall has arrived in southeast Michigan and we all know what that means: the potential for heavy rain and flooding. I know first hand the trauma and pain of a flooded basement and what it means to lose possessions and family history. But fear not, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the damage before it strikes.
The process begins with the exterior of your home, particularly the ground around the base:
First, be sure there are no low lying spots of earth. In other words, no space for water drainage to settle next to your structure. If you find there is, the best solution is to incorporate sand, dirt or pea gravel piled in such a way as to direct drainage water away from the structure. An inclination of eight to ten inches should be sufficient, but be sure the water has a place to go. Simply allowing it to sit there will not solve the problem.
An effective gutter system is essential. Roof rainwater is probably the greatest source of drainage towards the basement and leaky gutters will no doubt provide for even more. Be sure the gutter size is sufficient to handle the expected volume of runoff, which is in direct proportion to the area of the roof itself. Another important concern is gutter guards, essentially a screening system installed over the top of the gutters that prevents leaves and whatnot from clogging or slowing runoff.
Next, be sure any downspouts are not leaking before they enter the ground. Beware, in many communities direct downspout drainage has been outlawed, either for new construction or in some cases retroactively (necessitating the disconnection of such systems altogether). In this case be sure your drainage pipes effectively direct the flow away from your home’s foundation.
These key suggestions merely scratch the surface so if they fall short of solving your leakage problems it may be time to call in the professionals, but fear not: here in southeast Michigan there’s no shortage of companies waiting to help. Best practices dictates always getting at least two estimates before you engage. Best of luck!