Gutters and Grading - Two Indicators of a Wet Basement


Living in the Midwest has its benefits; cheese curds, breweries, the great lakes, sand dunes, bike trails, hiking trails, among many other things. Yes we have to deal with the possibility of snow for 5 months of the year but we just wont talk about that. One benefit of the Midwest that usually isn't mentioned is the basement. Basements are great for storing junk, letting kids run around, additional bedrooms, extra living space, or if maybe even a man cave, den, or theater room.

As a home inspector I have noticed a pretty significant pattern. If you don't have gutters (or they are just draining at your homes foundation) and if your grading is wrong there will be most likely be moisture in your basement. Gutters are relatively inexpensive ($700-$1500) for seamless aluminum gutters. Grading is even cheaper all you need is a few yards of topsoil, yard tools and some elbow grease. 

Here is what I recommend when I see these issues while inspecting a home:

-Your home should have gutters around the entire perimeter and your gutter downspouts should extend out at least 5 feet from your foundation. 

-Your homes grading should be slopped away from your house at about 1/4 inch per foot. (Note: Wood chips/mulch do not count as grading!) 

Having these two things done correctly can help save you a lot of headaches and money in the long run! In some cases depending on the water table you may need a more drastic approach, however I always recommend starting with gutters and grading as they are in a lot of cases the culprit for allowing moisture in your basement!