Grading and Regrading: Understanding Drainage

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how soil grading affects foundations

Your basement or crawl space may start to leak for a myriad of reasons. The last one many homeowners consider, however, is poor grading. When your home rests lower in your yard than any other features, rainwater will drain toward your living space instead of away from it.

Luckily, you can talk to the professional contractors working in the Kansas City, MO, area to discuss your regrading options.

What Is Grading?

Before you can understand the impact regrading can have on your home, it’s best to know what regular grading is. When home inspectors and construction crews refer to the “grade” of your home, they’re not discussing its compliance with code or your standard of living. Instead, they’re referring to the rise and fall of soil around your home. Think of it like your home’s personalized sea level designation – the higher your grade is, the less you’ll have to deal with water in your basement, as the water will flow away from your home.

There are two types of home grading:

  • Positive grading – Positive grading places your home above the bulk of the rest of your property. Any slopes in the area will lead away from your home, directing water down to the low parts of your yard or out onto the street.
  • Negative grading – Comparatively, negative grading suggests that there are areas in your yard that are higher up than your home. If your home’s negatively graded, then you’re at a higher risk of foundation damage, as rainwater will flow down toward your home instead of away from it.

If you’re purchasing a new home for yourself, it’s best to talk with the previous owners and with a home inspector to determine what kind of grading the yard has. If you’re building a new home, however, you may be able to manipulate your grade with the help of a competent construction crew.

When Can You Tell If You Have Poor Grading?

It sometimes can be difficult to determine the state of your grading. Luckily, there are some signs you can look for if you suspect that your home and yard have been poorly graded. These signs include:

  • Sponge-like soil – When your soil is overexposed to water, it becomes sponge-like and soft in nature. You may not see puddles of standing water, but if your shoes are constantly wet after a walk outside, or the ground under your feet doesn’t feel stable, you may be dealing with expanded soil.
  • Ineffective drainage – Naturally, if water makes its way into your basement or crawl space, or if it otherwise puddles around your yard, you have a drainage problem on your hands.
  • Excessive mosquitoes – Mosquitoes love nothing more than a damp place to thrive. Not only are these pests ridiculously annoying, but if you find yourself dealing with more than you can handle, you likely have a drainage problem.
  • Dying grass and landscaping –When there’s too much water in your soil, it can start to rot the root systems of plants you’ve placed around your home. Your grass, too, can start to die off as a result of excessive water in the area.

Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t notice the signs of poor grading until the worst effects appear around their homes. Some of the most common types of property damage that can arise as a result of poor grading include:

  • Rear and side swale holding water
  • Unwanted ponds
  • Inappropriately high grading around a home
  • Unnatural sloping toward a home
  • Foundation damage

How Will Contractors Improve Your Grading?

Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to a damp and musty lifestyle. Instead, you can talk to contractors in the Kansas City, MO, area about your regrading options. While some contractors can and will physically regrade your home, they may also suggest the following solutions:

  • Installing a catch basin – Catch basins are grate-protected drainage systems that contractors can install around the perimeter of your home. When covered with gravel, these basins will look like a part of your landscaping while also protecting your foundation from excessive water damage.
  • Investing in gutters and downspouts – When you regularly clean out your gutters, it’ll be easier for you to control how much water comes into contact with your home. Downspouts will serve as above or below-ground piping systems that’ll keep water away from your sensitive perimeter.

Whether you want to physically regrade your yard or invest in home waterproofing, you can reach out to your local contractors for guidance. Take advantage of an inspection and a free quote on potential services so you can get back to enjoying your home life.