Whenever ULB-Dry Waterproofing speaks with a client whose basement has experienced moisture or flooding, we find that the most common cause is poor exterior grading and drainage. To avoid these problems, it’s important to understand the signs that your grading needs work. And it’s equally important that you contract an experienced company like ours to develop drainage solutions that help prevent future storm/flood damage. 

Signs That Your Exterior Grading Needs Work

basement doorExterior grading and drainage are the first line of defense against rainwater and floodwater entering your basement. And whether you live in Oak Brook, Niles, or Ravinia, there are several telltale signs that your exterior grading requires improvement:

  • Flat or backward slope towards your home. Water naturally flows downhill, so clearly a backward slope presents a big problem.
  • Improperly sloped sidewalk, patio, or driveway. Miscues in the design/construction of these can end up directing water towards your home’s foundation instead of away from it.
  • A depression next to your home. For example, a rock/mulch-filled depression that’s close to your foundation. Such a depression prevents water from flowing away from your home, and instead draws water into it, down through the rock/mulch until it reaches and penetrates the ground beneath.
  • An incorrectly-installed landscape edge. In a worst-case scenario, this becomes an impediment that functions as a dam, forcing water back towards your house or underground.

How Proper Drainage Helps Prevent Damage After a Storm/Flooding

As mentioned above, water naturally flows downhill.  So on the surface, the solution to keeping your basement water-free appears simple: just direct the water downhill and away from your home. However, most landscapes in Chicago metro cities like Hollywood, Geneva, and Norwood Park have features that serve as obstacles to achieving a smooth downhill water flow. For example, the depression and the improper landscape edge explained in the prior section, along with improperly constructed driveways, patios, and sidewalks. All of these things serve to restrict water flow. In terms of drainage problems, two of the most common are lack of a proper drainage path to the street, and missing/inadequate downspout extensions.

So how best to solve these issues and ensure your home has a strong drainage design? Here are some common solutions utilized by our waterproofing company serving Chicago:

  • For a flat or backward slope, we would regrade the landscape so that the slope (and any water) moves away from your home
  • If you lack an appropriate drainage path to the street, we would create a distinctly downhill path (a swale) that ushers water into the street so it can flow into the nearest culvert
  • If there’s a depression near your home, the solution is to remove the mulch, stones, etc. and fill the depression with soil so a slope is created
  • Missing/inadequate downspout extensions is a problem easily rectified with new and/or longer extensions
  • For incorrectly-installed patios, sidewalks, and driveways, our professional team would either raise the concrete (a process called mud-jacking), or remove the concrete and re-pour

If your home requires better exterior drainage so that your basement stays dry during a storm or flood, contact ULB-Dry Waterproofing today.