Easy Tips to Keep Water Out of Your Basement

by Peter Crouch on August 1, 2018

Before you spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on “fixing” a wet basement, be sure you are not inviting water in!  Follow these surprisingly easy steps to keep water from your roof and grounds from entering your house.

Most of our Home Inspectors say 95% of wet basement issues are fixable outdoors for just a few hundred dollars.  They say there are 3 easy steps:

Man cleaning the gutter from autumn leaves

1. Make sure the gutters are not clogged and keep them clear. (This also helps with ice dams in winter.)  That is the first line of defense – to collect the roof water.


Residential 2-story brick home in an upscale suburban neighborhood.

2. Make sure the ground around the house slopes AWAY from the house. The vast majority of houses fail on this seemingly obvious point!  This is the second line of defense, in case the gutters do get clogged.

  • Build up the ground with clay–not topsoil–so that it slopes away for 4-6 feet.
  • Install a sheet of 6 mil (ie. thick!) plastic on top of the newly sloped dirt, going out from the house at least 4 feet.  
  • Mulch on top of the plastic.



3. The third line of defense is to install a downspout extension–you guessed it: 4-6 feet–to get the roof water away from the house.



In short, you want to follow these guidelines:

Basement Graphics-2

You have now collected roof and surface water and directed it away from the house.  Remember: 95% of problems are solved this way!


We have helped many clients – buyers, sellers, and just plain homeowners – diagnose and fix this issue.  Want a pair of eyes on your problem? We are happy to stop by!

This entry was posted under Home Inspiration and tagged , .
Pete Crouch is the lead Real Estate Broker for the for the Crouch Realty Group. He graduated from Princeton University and obtained his broker's license in 1993. Extensive construction knowledge compliments his real estate expertise.

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