Water can destroy wood, masonry, concrete, rock, steel, and other home construction materials. Therefore, it is critical to direct water away from a home. While most people immediately think of gutters when the topic arises, exterior water management involves much more than installing a properly sized gutter system. There are several ways to direct water away from the foundation of a home.
Proper grading of ground surfaces adjacent to the foundation of the house is the most effective exterior water management technique. Soil and asphalt or concrete surfaces should be sloped away from the home, dropping six inches for every six-foot area. This helps to channel rainwater and melted ice and snow away from the foundation. Proper grading can prevent water from seeping into basements and causing additional problems.
If soil rests against the walls of the foundation, adding non-porous soil such as hard clay near the walls and sloping it a minimum of one inch for every foot should improve water runoff. The non-porous soil should extend six feet or more away from the home. Slabs of asphalt or concrete flatwork adjacent to a foundation may need to be sealed, replaced, or repositioned.
Improperly designed terraces and even landscape boxes can collect and store water, allowing it to rest against foundation walls. These areas should be equipped with drainage systems that permit water to drain through them and away from the home. If the foundation of the house contains stone or block, the mortar should be maintained so water cannot make its way inside the home.
When combined with a high-quality gutter system, these exterior water management techniques should prevent rainwater, snow, and ice from causing damage to a home. By handling water from the outside of the home, homeowners prevent water from seeping into their houses. This saves them time and money required to repair water damage to the foundation.