Can Rain Water Pooling Near a House Damage the Foundation?

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Pooling rain water can greatly compromise the integrity of the foundation walls.
Pooling rain water can greatly compromise the integrity of the foundation walls. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When repeating episodes of flowing rain water pools near a house and enters the porous concrete of its foundation, it compromises the integrity of the house's most important structural part. The concrete slowly breaks down over time when water infiltrates the foundation. In freezing, cold weather, the frozen water expands in the concrete, causing it to crack. Correcting the problem of pooling water is integral to maintaining a solid, strong foundation.

Faulty Gutters

When gutters are cleaned and installed properly to drain away from the house, excess rain water does not have a chance to bother the foundation. Gutters, however, are rarely cleaned on many houses, especially when they are along a second-story roof. Leaves, pine needles and flying debris all make their way onto the roof and into the gutter with the wind and the rain. Once a gutter becomes clogged, the rain water has no other place to go except over the side, and this is usually near the point where the water would enter the gutter's downspout.

Another gutter problem that leads to foundation water damage is a missing piece along a gutter's drain line. By the time the water collects from the roof into the drain, it pours into the lower parts of the gutter system. When a piece is missing, the water pours directly into the ground.

Improper Grading

The improper grading of a property away from a house's foundation is a very costly and unfortunate repair. Local building codes usually account for the specifications of the property's foundation and construction at every level, and proper grading is high on the list. Water pooling towards the house only shortens the life of the foundation's walls. Once discovered as the culprit, an improperly graded ground must be corrected with a contractor to make water flow away from the house instead of seeping into the soil around its foundation.

Drainage Ditch

Some properties have no options regarding the extent of the soil grading, such as those constructed at the foot of a small hill. For these properties, the solution is to grade the ground away from the house as far as possible, and then install a drainage pitch beneath the ground's surface. The drainage system receives the water draining from the house's graded slope as well as the elevated land near the house. Before the water has a chance to reach the foundation, it enters the submerged drainage ditch system, where it is carried to drain away from the house.

Basement Waterproofing

While correcting the drainage problem on the outside walls of the foundation prevents damage to its structure, waterproofing the interior sides of a concrete foundation ensures that water seepage into the basement is blocked. This effect is achieved as the applied waterproofing material expands within the pores of the concrete. Waterproofing is a major step in keeping water out of a basement, a side effect of water pooling next to the house's foundation.

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