Wood Mulch Near Your Basement: Is It A Good Idea?

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For many people, wood mulch is nothing more than organic refuse that ends up as manure in their flower beds. So, they don’t give these chippings much thought as they heap them around their home’s perimeter. If you knew what impact that wood mulch has on your basement, you’d think twice before heaping in your yard. 

Where there’s mulch, there’s bound to be problems. Don’t heap it for long. In this post, you’ll see how mold attracts termites and retains moisture. Both have an impact on the structural integrity of your home. We’ll finish off by looking at eco-friendly steps you can take to keep your yard dry

mulch near house

Mulch and Termites 

Some people in Kansas City, MO, use mulch around their flowerbeds or yard to stop soil erosion, insulate plant roots, and replenish nutrients. As good as this sounds for organic farming, it engenders another serious problem — termites. These insects feed on cellulose, which is found in wood or papers. If they find mulch, they’ll have an easy meal. Mulch also protects termites from the harsh outdoor conditions. A heap of mulch traps heat and this creates a hospitable environment. 

Problems start when termites get into your basement or home via wood or timber that’s directly in contact with the soil. You may notice something is wrong, as termites will work their way up slowly. By the time you’re noticing them, they’ll have chewed and damaged the wooden structures. 

If you must use mulch, ensure that it stays at least two feet away from the house’s perimeter. Keep it away from siding and wood frames. Pour gravel into the space between the flowerbed and exterior wall to close any space. Keep an eye out for mud tubes as it could mean termites are nearby. 

Mulch and Water 

Termites aren’t as big an issue as the water that accumulates in the mulch around your yard. Whenever it rains, mulch collects water, and some of it can seep through foundation cracks into your basement. Water seepage can cause mold growth and turn your indoors musty. To avoid surprises, repair foundation cracks and waterproof your basement. 

Left to linger for long, mulch near the basement can increase moisture buildup in summer. So, clear out the mulch as soon as possible. 

Ways to Keep Your Basement Dry 

Let’s say your basement has become damp because of the moist mulch near the perimeter of your house. What should you do? First things first: Remove the heap of mulch, then drain any water sitting below it and ask your local contractor to inspect the basement for cracks. Once you do that, try out the following eco-friendly methods. 

Check the grading of your yard. Does it facilitate natural water flow away from your home’s perimeter? Ideally, the yard should allow water to run off toward a storm sewer or public drain. If it doesn’t, water will flow back or accumulate in the lawn, making it soggy. 

Don’t forget your gutters and downspouts. Loose or damaged gutters can turn your yard into a waterpark. Ensure it’s clog-free. Remove twigs, gunk, and leaves so water can flow whenever it rains. While you’re at it, ensure the downspouts are properly angled down and extend a couple of feet from your home’s perimeter. 

Lastly, dehumidify the basement and install an air ventilation system. A self-draining dehumidifier will dry out the basement air while the conditioning unit will promote airflow, ultimately stopping moisture accumulation. There are two methods of conditioning the basement. You can extend your HVAC ducts to your basement or install a standalone mini-split air conditioner. If you need help with any aspect of basement waterproofing, get in touch with Foundation Recovery Systems for a free inspection and quote. Our experts will pinpoint the issues you’re facing and apply the right fix to stop moisture.

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