Bulldozer evening out dirt along unfinished building wall.Proper grading around the foundation of your home is imperative to achieving a dry basement. An improper grade is the number one cause of wet basements. If your grade does not allow enough fall away from your foundation, or even worse, if you have a negative grade sloping towards the foundation of your home, then water is able to collect in the low spots, permeate the ground, and quite possibly find a way into your basement due to the build-up of hydrostatic pressure against your foundation walls. Grade should be set as to encourage the surface water to drain away from the foundation at a rate of 6 inches of fall in the first ten feet.

It is also imperative that your gutters and downspouts are in good working condition in order to perform in conjunction with your grade and ensure proper sheet flow run-off away from your foundation. Downspouts should extend as far away from your home’s foundation as possible to lessen the chances of run-off collecting around the foundation. Conducting your downspouts below the ground to “daylight” at the edge of your property or the curb is an excellent alternative and can be accomplished with minimal disturbance to your yard.

Bulldozer evening out dirt along unfinished building wall.

The initial grade set of a home is usually determined and implemented by the home builder or a landscape contractor. Over time, established yards or landscapes will often require re-grading due to soil settlement or possible erosion.


In short, the best way to avoid moisture issues when dealing with your home’s foundation is with the absence of moisture in the first place. Establishing and maintaining a properly sloping grade around your home is the first step in that process!