Controlling Surface Water Around The Home With Gutters and Downspouts
Controlling the surface water around a home is an important but often overlooked step in maintaining a home. Surface water in this case refers to water introduced to the soil when it rains. The water, if not properly controlled, could lead to water penetration and result in damage to the structure, interior surfaces, and homeowners’ belongings.
In addition, hydrostatic pressure that is created when water accumulates next to or below a foundation may cause structural damage to the foundation. The best methods for controlling the surface water are contingent upon local weather patterns, the type of soil and the type of foundation the home has. However, the simplest method to properly divert water away from the property is to use gutters and downspout systems, combined with proper surface grading around the home. Surface water should be controlled by installing good gutters and extending the downspouts well away, as well as by sloping the ground away from the house on all sides to at least six feet from the structure, ensuring that water coming down the slope will be directed around, rather than toward the house.
Exterior Surface Grading
The grade or slope of the soil should be designed to direct surface water away from or around the home. Water accumulation next to the home can lead to water penetration problems such as basement flooding, structural damage to wood framing, interior damage to finished surfaces and damage to the homeowners’ belongings. Additional problems such as hydrostatic pressure against foundation walls or surface water mixing with expansive soils next to or under a foundation can lead to cracking of the slab and foundation walls. Proper grading (in conjunction with a gutter and downspout system) is one of the easiest ways to manage surface water, reduce the possibility of water penetration and structural damage from hydrostatic pressure, and control the water content in expansive soils.
Water or excessive moisture in the crawlspace or basement primarily results from improperly controlled surface water from rain or snow entering through or below the foundation wall. It is difficult to tell unless you know what you are looking for. These are the kinds of problems that an experienced Minnesota gutter contractor can spot for you.
A less frequent culprit of moisture penetration is when the groundwater in the soil (water table) rises to or above the crawlspace floor or basement slab.