From rainy spring days to summer and early fall thunderstorms to winter snow, your home is constantly under the threat of flooding. But even with the proper sump pump in place, your home could experience flooding at any moment because of your grading. So how do you know if your home is properly graded or if you need to call the waterproofing professionals? 


What is Grading? 

Grading is a crucial factor in keeping your home safe. Without proper grading, your home could experience flooding, failed driveways, water damage in your home and foundation, dead landscaping, standing water, and structural damage. To put it simply, the grade or grading around your house is the level of the ground. The ground level and how it is graded will help to guide the water and keep it from flowing toward your home. 


Positive and Negative Grading 

There are actually two types of grading: positive and negative. A positive grade slopes away from your home, directing water away from your home and foundation. A negative grade slopes toward your home, allowing water to flow toward your home and foundation. If your home has a negative grade, you should call BAM basements and masons Waterproofing to have the problem corrected before serious damage is caused. 


What is Negative Grading 

Negative grading means that the ground near the perimeter of a foundation, in at least one specific area, slopes downwards towards that foundation 


How Can I Be Sure I Have a Grading Problem? 

Grading is all about the gradient slope of your yard. If it’s more than six inches, you have nothing to worry about. This means that you have more than enough slope and your home and its lower-grade level are safe enough. However, if the slope is less than those six inches, you should think about altering it by regrading your yard. Adjusting the slope around your home is also important as it affects the drainage. You can create one by adding fill around the perimeter of your home and tamping it down. 



How to Check the Slope Level 

Grading your yard in time is essential. You want to do it before the rainy season starts. Luckily, it’s not the hardest of jobs to do. You can check the slope in six easy steps and contact professional help afterward. 


Here’s how to do it: 


Drive a straight stake into the ground next to your foundation. 

Then, tie a thin rope or a string to the top of the stake. 

Slide the rope/string down the stake and let it rest on the ground. 

Measure out 10 feet away from the stake and away from the house. 

Drive another straight stake into the ground at that point and tie the other end of the rope/string to it (the string and stakes should form a 90-degree angle). 

Lastly, measure the distance from the string on the second stake to the ground. 

If the distance is six inches or more, you’re in the clear. 


Let’s say the ground against your house drops about an inch per foot up to 5’ away. If the ground then significantly rises several feet beyond, then you have a negative grade. Water will filter down into the earth and find the path of least resistance, which is often through the walls or floor of your home. 


The foundation of a home or shed is not waterproof. If you have concrete block walls, they may be covered by tar or some type of impermeable membrane. If so, then you have a measure of protection against water. But even if you have “waterproofed” the foundation of your house, negative grading means that water will eventually settle against your home and find its way in somehow. 

Water that constantly sits against your house can ruin the structural integrity of the foundation. It can cause the foundation to shift, eroding soil from beneath. Shifting can cause cracked drywall, uneven floors, and other major problems. Seeping water through a basement can also cause mold. It will start behind your walls, on the concrete walls, behind drywall, and ruin the insulation 



Other Land Grading Techniques 

You may be unable to properly grade along your house due to property lines or other obstructions in many instances. In that case, you have alternative options that, while more labor-intensive, can still work to divert water away from your house. Water in your basement can be an extremely frustrating and costly event that many homeowners experience from time to time. 

Lastly, positive grading is just one of the many solutions for keeping water away from your home. Proper gutters, downspouts, and footing drains are also critical to creating a dry house. But a dry basement or crawl space starts with positive grading. With professional help, you can counteract the effects of negative grading on your yard. You can, of course, hire a landscaping company to re-grade your property.  


However, there are a few other solutions that do not require just an extensive effort such as re-grading. You can have a catch basin installed, for example. With it, you’ll be able to successfully redirect water away from your home.  

Aside from the catch basin, you can have your gutters and downspouts inspected. This is pretty important since water and melting snow come down from your roof. If the gutters and downspouts don’t work properly, they’ll allow water to pool next to the base of your home.  

Contact the Professional Waterproofing Company 

Lastly, you shouldn’t shy away from waterproofing your basement or crawl space. This can make a world of difference when the rainy season starts. With proper installation, waterproofing will keep your lower-grade levels dry and safe. Although it won’t improve the grading, it will still prevent the slope from endangering your home. 


Your best solution is to contact the professionals at BAM Basements and Masons of Des Moines. We are one of the most sought-after names when it comes to basement waterproofing in and around Des Moines. Our team has many years of experience and in-depth knowledge about keeping the basement free from moisture and humidity. Therefore, we can suggest the right method for your home. All our basement waterproofing techniques come at bargain basement pricing, and we ensure timely completion of each of the projects. To know more about basement waterproofing and get a free estimate, please feel free to call us! 

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