If you live in the Missouri area, you know how the weather can change on a dime. Depending on the time of year, you may be facing tornados, blistering heat, or the strange, half-precipitation that comes with the winter months.

If you don’t have a secure basement, those winter months can be tough to deal with. Water can find its way into an unsecured basement with ease and compromise the integrity of your entire house. If the problem goes untreated, you may find yourself the proud owner of the indoor swimming pool you never wanted.

How, though, can you keep water out of your foundation? If you take a few careful steps, you can work to ensure your land and home retain their value – without the assistance of an unwanted swimming pool.

Let’s dive into potential solutions so you can get your life – and your basement – back.

Grade Your Foundation

You may not be a Missouri area teacher, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grade.

Bad jokes aside, grading the soil away from your home will help you keep your basement warm and dry whenever rain or snow rolls into town. While it is much more difficult to grade the soil around an established home, anyone building their home should ensure that the soil around their home slopes at least six inches around the foundation. This grade gives your home the high ground and prevents water from making its way toward your basement walls.

Install a French Drain

New and old homes alike will benefit from the installation of a French drain. These drains direct water away from the exterior of your home and into a sump pump. You can install a French drain at the same time you grade your foundation. Alternatively, speak to your contractor to determine the best way to include a French drain in your waterproofing plan.

Clean Your Gutters

If you’re noticing leaks in your basement, a crack in the wall may not be the cause. Instead, your gutters may be redirecting water toward your foundation. Blocked gutters spill over or are otherwise unable to direct water away from your home. If your basement hasn’t leaked before, but now you’re finding standing water, give your gutters a good cleaning. If, when it rains again, your basement stays dry, you’ll know your leaks are situational at worst.

Redirect Your Downspouts

If cleaning your gutters temporarily offers your basement a reprieve, you can take things a step further. Consider purchasing downspout extensions to better redirect precipitation away from your foundation. If you’re not interested in the extensions, you may alternatively want to consider recessed downspout extensions or extensions you can bury. This way, you won’t have to worry about running into the extensions while mowing the lawn or otherwise disrupting your view.

Keep Your Land From Getting Too Dry

You may not have guessed it, but land that gets too dry loves to take in water. To be specific, the molecules that make up your soil will shrink if they go without water for a long period of time. As a result, they’ll have a more difficult time absorbing precipitation the next time it does rain.

If you want to keep water from reaching your foundation, then, you need to keep your land from getting too dry. To do so, you can: 

  • Keep trees, shrubs or other plants around the foundation of your home.
  • Manually water the land near the foundation of your home.
  • If legal, install a sprinkler system to keep your ground damp.

Install a Sump Pump

Finally, make sure you have a sump pump installed on your land. These pumps help guide excess water away from your home and will store it so it doesn’t get into your basement. Likewise, a sump pump prevents water from eroding your foundation, as the pumps are frequently some distance from your home.

Talk to your contractor to determine whether or not you already have a sump pump installed. While these pumps are easiest to install in new homes, they can be integrated into older homes with a bit of work.

Seal and Waterproof Your Foundation

One of the best ways to keep your foundation safe from leaks is to waterproof it. You can use temporary sealants or long-term waterproofing solutions, depending on the severity of your leaks. When you work with a contractor, you’ll be asked about the kind of water damage you see when it rains and the kinds of solutions you’re interested in implementing. With a contractor’s help, you’ll be able to waterproof your basement within one to two days and protect your foundation from any further damage.

Why Worry?

As you can see, there are plenty of different ways for you to keep water from reaching the foundation of your home. Why, though, should you be so worried about a little bit of rain or snow?

When water reaches the foundation of your home, it does more than leak into your basement. Water is a powerful force. It can erode the concrete you’ve used to stabilize your home. As a result, your home can literally begin to sink into the ground. Likewise, your wooden supports and doorways may warp, and any belongings you have in your basement may be damaged.

To retain the value of your home and the safety of your belongings, then, try to keep water from reaching your foundation. Whether it’s through DIY solutions or with the help of a contractor, you can ensure your home stays exactly where you want it to for as long as you live there.