Moisture Problems – Landscaping (Part 3)

Unfortunately not, controlling exterior surface water can be quite a bit more complex than just landscaping. There are many situations that the landscaping looks just the way it should, but below the surface it really isn’t. Remember my previous comment on soils. The type of soil can impact how permeable or impermeable it may be. Some soil lets water flow through it very readily, permeable; typically this does not trap water on the foundation. And some stops moisture, impermeable; this can actually be sending water towards the house. On the surface it looks like the earth is sloped away from the foundation, but below its not.

This condition is often masked by topsoil, decorative rocks or wood chips. So discovering this problem is more difficult than just looking at the slope of the earth. It might take moving some dirt, rocks, or chips to see the true lay of the land.

Most of the time, correcting these grading problems will include hauling in dirt, raising the soil along the foundation and gently tapering it away from the house. However, there are circumstances that will actually require digging out the dirt, lowering it on the foundation, and re-shaping the land. The core principal is that water must move away from the foundation and drain off the building site.

Typically, this water will drain to the street, an alley, city drainage easements, or sometimes the neighbor’s basement…is that OK?  Check back soon for part 4 in our moisture problem resolution series!

Doug & Julie Hastings
Your House Whisperers
Minneapolis Home Inspectors


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