How to Divert Rain Water Away From your House

Diverting water away from your house

If you’ve noticed standing water next to your property’s foundation, then this spells trouble. Not only can it saturate the soil, but at the same time it can also lead to mold growth and water damage if it seeps into basement cracks.

Therefore, if you want to properly drain the water away from your home, you need to not only install guttering for diverting the roof runoff, but also create a sloping yard as well. Depending on your specific situation, you may also need to consider installing a buried drainage system which depends on your budget, building development rules and your yard’s geography.


Maintain functional gutter system on your houseIf you have no downspouts or guttering, then you can have rainwater running off the roof and pooling next to the foundation. Sure, your yard may have the right grade, but that doesn’t mean that the force of the roof runoff from heavy rain won’t be able to dig a trench along the property’s foundation which can then start to hold water.

Therefore, to carry runoff at least five feet away from the foundation, you should consider installing gutters (or properly maintaining existing) and strategically positioned downspouts equipped with sufficient length extensions as well.

There are multiple scenarios where just having gutters installed may not be enough because there is no easy way to extend downspouts away from your house. One of such examples might be large portion of the Chicago neighborhood area where homes are build on small lots, there’s not room for rain water to go. It is virtually impossible to extend the downspout and you can’t use underground drains without risking to flood the basement.

Although you can attempt rain gutter installation and figuring out its extensions on your own, in some cases, complicated roofing system and lack of land around your property my present a challenge while trying to assemble something that will successfully collect water from the entire roof surface and safely push it away from your house. In such cases contacting an experienced gutter installation contractor might save you a lot of stress.

Grading the Yard

For the majority of yards, a 2% grade away from the foundation is a good start and it equals a two ft drop over a distance of one hundred ft. If you consider a steeper grade, then it may be prone to erosion, while a shallower grade won’t drain as quickly.

During the building of your property, the yard will be graded by the contractor only after the foundation is in place. However, for existing properties, in order to raise the level of the soil around your home, you should consider ordering some topsoil.

One thing to keep in mind when you want to raise your yard’s level is that the soil needs not be closer than 6′ from the siding’s bottom. This six inch space is also required by building codes in order to minimize the risk of having wood boring insects infesting your property.

Foundation Drain Tile

Foundation drain tile is crucial for proper site drainageAccording to current building codes, the foundation drain tile should be considered for any new construction. The drain tile is basically a perforated tube that’s located beside or on the footer around the perimeter of the foundation.

The tube empties into a buried bucket and when the water reaches a specific level, the pump will kick in to pump out the water to the surface of your yard. However, if you want to install foundation drain tiles in an existing property, you need to excavate around the property until you reach the footer.

Watch this video for an example of drain tile installation.

Swales and Trench Drains

If you want to add swales to your yard, you should speak to a contractor, but only if the current grading is within 6′ of your siding. In this case, grading your yard’s grade is not a good idea. Excavation contractors can easily create as many swales as you need in order to divert the water away from your property.

In case your property sits at the bottom of a sloping yard, you can opt for installing a trench drain between the yard and the foundation. Trenches generally feature a U shaped trough that’s made from Polyvinyl Chloride and are very durable and sturdy and should last for many years without problems.

Drainage Consideration

Before you start making any changes to your properly, you should carefully check your plans with the municipal code enforcement office or with your housing association. When the subdivision will be planned by a developer, prerequisites are going to be made for installing storm sewers underneath the street in order to create gutters that can carry water away to a storm sewer. In order to carry water to the storm sewers, property lines and easements can also be used.

One thing to keep in mind though is that the fill dirt left in a neighbor’s yard draining or easements onto your yard can lead to quite a few issues. In this regard, the municipal inspector can consult the development plan in order to determine how the adjacent neighbor or municipality should address the issue. On top of that, if your yard grading efforts will cause drainage problems for neighbors, then you’ll need to consider fixing these problems as soon as possible.