Adjusting the grading in most cases can be an inexpensive DIY project that can prevent some of the most common basement defects.
The grading around the perimeter of a house refers to the slope or angle of the landscaping in reference to the foundation of the home. It is recommend that the grading slopes away from the house, not level, nor towards it.
The purpose of grading sloping away from the house is to carry water away from the foundation.The slope does not have to be huge, but it does need to be visibly present. 1 inch per foot will suffice.
With bad grading, the water can pool around the foundation where the backfilled dirt is much more susceptible to water intrusion than the undisturbed soil. The water, along with Ohio’s freeze/thaw process puts unnecessary pressure on the foundation, over time; hydrostatic pressure can push in the foundation wall, which can lead to a multitude of different cracking types (step cracks, vertical and horizontal cracking) in which moisture intrusion can become an issue.
Water that moves toward the foundation instead of away from it can lead to issues such as a wet basemen, to an overworked sump pump that runs for days after a heavy rain.
The previously stated common problems can be prevented with a simple fix, adjust the grading. To adjust the grading the first thing you want to do is find and mark all utility lines in your yard. Very Important!!!. Then remove the top layer of landscaping, low enough to cut high spots, fill low spots and leave 6-8 inches from the finished grade to the bottom of your siding.
Once you have your grading dug, leveled and sloping away from the house (1 inch per foot) add a top level of top soil or “black dirt” mixed with sub-soil and let this settle for a few days. The last step (optional) is planting the seed for grass or laying sod.
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