Are You Getting an F in Grading?
No one wants to receive an F in any subject, but getting an F in grading can result in a flooded basement, severe damage to your personal contents, furnishings and expensive appliances for example, heating/cooling equipment and water heaters. Let me explain, when I refer to grading I am talking about the soil surrounding the foundation of your home. This soil holds and disburses rainwater and other moisture around your home from watering plants, gardens, planters and vegetation near the exterior. Whether in be a few drops or coming down in the form of cats and dogs, it is extremely important that this soil is graded away from the structure to keep from water accumulation and possible flooding. A Certified Property Inspector® should be hired to evaluate grading and drainage components. These are not just issues that relate to homes being bought and sold, but for every property. I would recommend having your home and property inspected every few years. You know the ‘ol saying, “An ounce of prevention….”
According to the International Associations of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) Model building standards typically require a minimum of 6 inches of fall in ground level over a distance of 10 feet from the perimeter of the building (Gromicko & Gromicko, 2015). When having a property inspected, it is extremely important to chose a Certified Property Inspector® that is thorough and will dedicate the necessary time and training within the standard scope of practice to evaluate every aspect of the grounds and drainage components surrounding the property you own or are interested in.
Recently, I inspected a home that had improper sloping of
the exterior grade in conjunction
with improper maintenance of the
gutters and downspouts. This is a
disastrous combination that would
have surely led to flooding. Due to
lack of proper gutter maintenance,
leaf build up caused the Figure 1: Proper reporting of drainage issues
downspouts to become clogged (It is recommended that gutters be cleaned out at least twice a year). The band aid solution for this was to extend the downspout drain using flexible tubing, however with improperly sloped grading this just directed the moisture right back into the foundation.
Many issues relating to moisture intrusion can be controlled and maintained by an equipped homeowner. Keep in mind this was a severe case that involved grading issues surrounded the entire property and
many aspects of the gutters,
downspouts, and drainage systems.
To insure proper restoration of these
systems a professional landscaper,
roofer and gutter specialist needed be
hired. Let me remind you that the majority of moisture intrusion issues are completely preventable.
The issues that can arise if moisture is left untreated is a mile long and a whole other article, but for the sake of safety I want to mention that microbial growth, i.e. mold can be a very dangerous issue if if left untreated. After it shows up it can be difficult and costly to treat. Let’s focus on the simple steps that you can take to make sure that moisture issues don’t develop.
What Simply Steps Can I Take to Prevent of Moisture Intrusion?
- All vegetation surrounding property should not be in contact with exterior.
- Exterior hose bibs should be checked for leakage and repaired if necessary.
• Install a Battery Back Up Sump Pump to aid during main sump or electricity power
Make Sure You are Protected?
Many homeowners assume that a standard homeowner’s insurance will cover damage caused by a flooded basement, however this is a common mistake that leads to many scrambling to find funds to clean up and replace items lost by flood damage. Check with your local insurance agent to make sure that you have the proper insurance to cover you in case flooding does occur. The National Flood Insurance Program encourages people to purchase both building and contents coverage. Flood insurance does not cover basement improvements, such as finished walls, floors, ceilings or personal belongings that may be kept in a basement. For a complete list of what’s covered, view the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) at www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs/what-is-covered-in-my-basement.jsp
In Conclusion, the majority of grading and drainage deficiencies leading to moisture intrusion can be taken care by simple maintenance by most homeowners before they turn into serious issues like mold. It is important to have your property inspected by a Certified Professional Inspector® on a regularly scheduled basis to stay on top of issues that can arise in homes as they age. There is a reason Safe Check Home Inspections, LLC chose the slogan, Be Safe, Not Sorry.