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There are many things that can cause a basement or crawlspace waterproofing issue. Failed sump pumps, cracked foundations, and lack of drain tile around the home are just a few examples. There is one thing, however, that contributes greatly to the amount of water around your foundation, and it’s often overlooked: your gutters and downspouts.

It’s very common for us to be performing either an initial foundation inspection or a service inspection, and see the downspout extension completely detached and lying a few feet away from the foundation. This means that during rain storms or snow melts, huge amounts of water are being drained right against the foundation. This excess water can more easily make its way through foundation cracks, and produce excess moisture that may lead to toxic mold.

Repair Tips

The first and most obvious thing you’re going to want to do is attempt to recommend the downspout extension(s). If they weren’t previously, attach them with small gutter screws that can be purchased at your local hardware store. Be sure your gutter extensions terminate at least 4-6 feet away from your foundation walls.

Another issue homeowners run into is improper soil grading. Even those who have properly attached and fully extended downspouts can experience issues if the soil angles toward the foundation walls, as opposed to away from them. A good rule of thumb is to be sure the soil slops away from the foundation for at least 6 feet, and extends 12 inches from its highest point to level ground.

Additionally, you may need to seal near-ground windows and/or your home’s sill plate (the seam where the rest of your home sits on the top of your foundation wall). For windows, you may want to consider an acrylic caulk which can easily be applied with a caulk gun. For the sill plate, we recommend masonry caulk, as it will adhere better to the concrete foundation.

If grading, caulking, or extended downspouts don’t solve your issue, you may be a good candidate for more advanced basement waterproofing and exterior drainage solutions. Read more about exterior waterproofing here, or feel free to call us for a free foundation inspection anytime!

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