How to Keep Moisture Away from the Foundation of a House


Excess moisture is a frequent problem in homes. Moisture can cause mold and mildew growth, insect infestations, wood rot and respiratory problems. If excess moisture reaches the foundation of your home, it eventually can cause significant structural problems. You can take important steps toward preventing moisture from reaching the foundation of your home by giving some attention to the slope of the terrain next to the house, making some minor landscaping changes and properly managing roof drainage.

Things You'll Need

  • Splash block
  • Foundation waterproofing material
  • Dehumidifier
  • Air conditioner
  • Ensure that the area around your home is sloped at a 2 percent grade away from your house for at least 10 feet. You may have to add soil to the area nearest to your home to achieve this slope. This will prevent surface water from collecting alongside and under your home. Notice where water collects near the house in heavy rains. Those are areas that need immediate correction.

  • Add a splash block, available at most hardware and home supply stores, to your roof's gutter system. A splash block, generally of concrete or plastic, sits on the ground at the lower end of the downspout. It is designed to conduct the water from the downspout at least two feet from the foundation before releasing it.

  • Remove plants that are less than 5 feet from the foundation. Keep any organic mulch or ground cover at least 12 inches away from the foundation. Nothing that retains water or that helps the soil retain water should be near any part of the foundation.

  • Apply a foundation waterproofing material, such as Portland cement plaster, to the foundation wall. Follow the instructions on the waterproofing material's label, as some materials require a primer or some other substance before the material is applied to the wall.

  • Reduce the moisture inside your home. This can be done by running a dehumidifier in the winter months and an air conditioner in the summer months. The idea is to keep the relative humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent. Most hardware and home supply stores sell devices (RH meters) that will measure the relative humidity in your home.

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