Here’s a simple fact: In order for there to be water inside your basement, there has to be water outside your basement. I know: Duh!
As obvious as that statement is, it seems like a lot of homeowners need to be reminded that if they practice proper yard drainage to keep water away from their foundations, they substantially reduce the chance that they’ll get water in their basement. Of course, there’s nothing a homeowner can do about heavy rains or snow melt or the water table. However, the more he or she does to keep water away from foundation walls and footings, the less effect those natural occurrences will have.
One of the most common problems that basement waterproofing contractors find when they inspect a home with a wet basement is that the downspouts of the home’s rain gutter system are discharging water right next to the foundation. Dumping water next to the foundation wall saturates the soil in the “zone of failure” and allows water to enter the basement through wall cracks, the cove joint and other sources.
Given that the average home will shed 1000-1500 gallons of water from one inch of rainfall and that most homes have four downspouts, that’s a lot of water in a few concentrated spots.
So, what’s the solution? It’s really very simple – extend downspouts at least 10 feet from the foundation and allow the water to either disperse on the lawn or be carried to a storm sewer.
It is true that a homeowner can go to the big box home improvement store, buy some plastic extensions and hook them up to the downspouts. However, there are a few problems with the DIY approach to downspout extensions:
- They are usually too short, typically 4 – 6 feet
- They fall off, regularly
- They have to be removed for mowing or landscaping
- They are, to be candid, really ugly
So, if the homeowner takes the time to patch together two or more of these extensions and remembers to put them back on when they fall off or after mowing the lawn, they might work – but they still sprawl across the lawn like snakes and they’re still ugly.
A better approach is professionally installed underground downspout extensions. These extensions are made from durable PVC pipe and employ a debris filter below the downspout to ensure they remain free of clogs. They are buried below the surface of the lawn, properly pitched to ensure drainage and terminate in a “bubbler pot” that opens when full and disperses water in small amounts safely on the lawn.
Underground downspout extensions can also, where permitted, be connected directly to storm sewers.
Once they’re installed, underground downspout extensions are virtually maintenance-free, needing only an occasional brush-off of the debris filter. Homeowners can enjoy and maintain their lawns without additional work and can rest easy knowing that their foundations are protected from needless saturation.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve repaired hundreds of thousands of wet basements since our founding in 1957 but we get the greatest satisfaction by helping homeowners prevent basement water problems in the first place. Want to know how underground downspout extensions can help keep your basement dry and your home beautiful? Ask for a free consultation with one of our experts today.
Want to know more about underground downspout extensions or yard drainage in general? Ask your questions in the Comments box below.