How to Keep Water Away from Your House Foundation

May 31, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking how to keep water away from a house foundation? If so, it’s an excellent topic to consider! Contractors will often tell you that water is the number one enemy of foundation concrete and crawl spaces. In turn, keeping water away from any structure helps reduce the risk of expensive damage.

To keep water away from a house foundation, consider:

  • French drain installation
  • Sump pumps
  • Grading the soil
  • Upgraded gutter systems
  • Swales

Waterproof coatings and membranes are excellent for protecting basements, concrete slabs, and crawl spaces. However, keeping water away from the house foundation in the first place is an even better option. With that in mind, check out some added details about all these solutions for your property and keep your basement dry.

Causes of Water Pooling & Improper Drainage

Water pooling by your house foundation is typically caused by improper grading, inadequate drainage systems, and soil compaction. When heavy rain falls, it can be difficult to drain water properly from the exterior. Often if there are standing puddles away from the foundation, a homeowner will add soil to soak up the excess moisture. However, this is not an option if the water is pooling too close to the house foundation.

installing proper drainage

Htersow to it Keep Water Away From House Foundation

When going through these waterproofing choices, remember to call a pro for anything outside your area of expertise. Their services ensure a safe solution for your property.

French Drain

  • French drain installations include PVC pipes buried just underground. Holes drilled into these pipes collect moisture in the soil. Next, they direct that moisture to a drain or nearby garden or landscaping feature.

Sump Pump

  • Exterior sump pumps collect floodwater or other moisture in a low pit. The machinery then pumps that moisture out of the pit and toward a drain or pipe. Sump pumps are especially excellent for properties prone to flooding.

Soil Gradation

  • Grading the soil refers to sloping it downward and away from a certain point. This slope encourages water to run in that direction. Incorrect grading allows moisture to collect around a foundation. On the other hand, correcting that grade directs moisture away from a structure.

Gutter Systems

  • Property owners often forget that gutters protect foundations from water damage! Gutters collect rain and melting snow as it runs off the roof. This water flows down nearby downspouts and away from the foundation. Upgrading the gutter system can mean added protection against foundation water damage, structural damage, and mold growth.


  • Swales are like ditches or trenches in the ground. Their lower elevation helps collect water which then runs in a certain direction. Property owners might cover these swales with rocks or vegetation for an attractive look.

Do Rocks Help Keep Water Away From a Foundation?

Rocks are an excellent way to keep water away from foundations, including basements and slabs. Rocks help stop water from flowing, so they act as a natural waterproof barrier. To use rocks around your home, consider removing just an inch or two of topsoil and then filling the space with gravel. You can also use river rocks and other smooth stones if you prefer their appearance.

Additionally, consider adding rocks to overly moist spots around your property. Rock layers help stop water from puddling and pooling so it’s not likely to then run toward your home. You can also dig small swales and fill those with rocks for added protection against water damage.

Protect Foundation From Flooding & Excess Water

All the above options help protect a foundation against flooding. However, sump pumps are especially useful for removing flood waters. These often switch on once water reaches a certain level in the pit. They don’t switch off until that pit empties!

Also, note that a contractor can typically install sump pumps indoors and out. In turn, you can use an interior sump pump to guard against broken plumbing pipes and other issues. Exterior pumps are great protection against natural floods.

Lastly, consider that high-quality waterproof membranes also protect basements from outside floods. A contractor can dig around the basement walls and apply these where needed. These membranes block moisture and keep concrete walls dry and secure.


how to keep water away from house foundation

How Do I Stop Water From Going Under My House?

Calling a professional is vital if you notice water going under your house consistently. Overly moist soil or poor drainage can risk exterior flooding. A professional can spot the flooding cause and note the best solution for waterproofing.

Additionally, a professional can excavate the soil where needed and install waterproofing solutions. For instance, they might bury French drain system pipes deep in the ground. A professional might also notice leaking plumbing pipes or other issues causing water under a home. In turn, they can offer solutions for addressing those flooding causes, to protect your home against damage.

How Do I Know if My House Foundation Needs Waterproofing?

Waterproofing is an excellent choice for every house foundation no matter its construction! Installing waterproofing solutions is like maintenance for a car; it helps prevent otherwise expensive repairs. However, there are times when waterproofing is even more vital for a house.

Check the Soil

First, note if soil around the house seems overly moist or spongy. Second, don’t overlook damp basements or rooms with concrete floors in the house. This dampness inside and out can indicate that it’s time for professional waterproofing!

Water Issues in the Basement

Also, consider waterproofing before you finish a basement or if you use it for storage. Moisture seeping in through basement walls and floors risks damaging drywall and other items. If you notice rusted appliances, mold or mildew, or other water-related issues, it’s time for waterproofing!

Is There a Musty Odor?

Above all, don’t assume that basements are always musty or that a mildew smell in the home is normal. Moisture trapped under carpets often creates unpleasant odors. However, just cleaning the carpets won’t fix the problem permanently! Waterproofing a foundation and keeping moisture away can eliminate musty odors, mold, mildew, and other such issues for good.

Toledo Foundation Repair Specialists is happy to help explain how to keep water away from a house foundation. Hopefully, you found this information useful and practical! If so, be sure to check out our blog for even more tips on foundation maintenance and repairs. Also, if you’re in the area, call our Toledo foundation repair contractors when needed. We offer expert foundation fixes at affordable prices. Also, we start every project with a FREE inspection and quote, so there’s no reason to put off that call if you have drainage problems! To ensure a strong, watertight home's foundation, call us today.


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