Rain that doesn't drain effectively away from your home's foundation can cause water damage and moisture issues in your basement and crawlspaces. Even a little bit of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage. It can also cause mildew and mold to grow. To protect your property, you must grade your yard away from your home's foundation.

  • All ground around a home should slope away from the house. If the ground slopes toward the home, water will flow against the home and increase the chance of flooding.
  • There should be approximately 6 inches of exposed concrete foundation around the entire residence (masonry and mortar may be deteriorating as a result of the constant exposure to moisture).This will prevent rot and help get water to flow past your home rather than into it over the top of the foundation.
  • All downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from the foundation and discharge at a location that flows away from the home.



Gutters are designed to do one thing — channel water away from the foundation and they’re critical to protecting the structural integrity of your house. But  in order for gutters to do their job properly, they have to be kept in shape and  free of clogs, holes, and sags.

Gutters are a component of a roof system that collects and diverts rainwater
that is shed by the roof. The gutters collect and control the direction and flow
of rain water via a down pipe to an area away from the structure.


Clogged gutters

Sagging gutters and gutters pulling away from the house

Clogged gutters

This is the most common problem of all. Left untended, gutters and downspouts  get so clogged with debris that they’re rendered useless. If water overflows over the back of a clogged gutter, damage to exterior and interior (via the cavity) walls can occur and dampness can result.

The excess weight of  leaves, twigs, and standing water can also make them sag and pull away from the  fascia. Clean them at least once a year, and twice a year if you have a  lot of trees nearby.

Another option for dealing with chronically clogged gutters  is to outfit them with gutter covers. These include mesh screens, clip-on  grates, and porous foam. They still need regular maintenance, though, and the  cost can be more than the gutters themselves.


Damaged gutters




This is usually a problem with the hangers, the hardware that secures the  gutters to the fascia and ice dam (see attic section). They might have deteriorated over time, the fasteners may  have backed out of the wood, or they’re spaced too far apart to support the  weight of full gutters.

Leaks & Holes

Leaky gutter joints can be sealed by caulking the joint from the inside with  gutter sealant. Small holes can be filled with gutter sealant. Larger holes  will require a patch.


Missing, improperly pitched gutters

Gutters need to be pitched toward the downspouts for the water to flow  properly. You want at least a quarter inch of slope for every 10 feet (If there’s standing water, it’s  not pitched properly).


Downspouts draining too close to the foundation

Missing extension






Downspouts need to extend several feet from the house, or they’ll dump right  into the basement. Gutter extensions attached to the bottom of the downspout  will discharge water well beyond the foundation.






Improper gutters and downspouts size





Proper gutter and downspout systems are designed to accommodate the volume of water collected on the roof during a heavy rain. The volume of water to be drained away dictates the size of gutters and downspouts. The gutters and downspouts should be wide enough to hold the amount of water coming off the roof, even if it has debris in it.