House site and erosion control

Do you have a damp basement, musty smells in your home or even mold or mildew on the walls? These are all indications of moisture getting into your home! The cause of this is likely poor drainage around your home allowing moisture to build up and remain in the soil around your foundation eventually working its way into your home. Fixing drainage problems around your home can be relatively inexpensive as it often comes down to a couple of issues: how rainwater is handled and the grading or slope of your property.


Gutters are a extremely important part of the drainage system around your house. If your gutters are nonexistent, in poor condition, or if the downspout empties right beside your house they could be causing the problem. Gutters need to be installed properly so they will catch the water coming off your roof and direct it away from your house and foundation. Gutters should have a downward slope of 1 inch for every 2 feet of run to ensure they drain completely. They also need to be firmly attached. Screws are best for this as they wont come out as easily over time. If you have seems in your gutters make sure they are well sealed and water doesn’t leak through. Gutters that leak are a problem because the drips land close to the foundation. A downspout diverter directs water from the downspout onto the driveway where it can’t seep into the ground around the foundation. The minimum size for a downspout should be 2×3 inches, but a larger size such as 3×4 inches is better. The larger size makes it less likely that anything will be able to block the downspout. At ground level the water from your downspout should be directed at a minimum of 5 feet away from your house. It’s best to have the water flowing onto a hard surface like a driveway or a splashguard designed to spread the water and stop it from forming puddles on the ground.


How your house sits on a lot and how the land slopes around it is key in keeping your home dry. Improper grading that doesn’t correctly slope away from the foundation can allow excessive amounts of groundwater to collect in the soil around basement walls. The ground should slope away from the foundation of your house for several feet at a grade of at least 1 inch per foot. It is improperly graded if it is level or angles toward the house. All of the following can easily affect grade around your home.

– Improper landscaping.

Foundation beds should follow the original grade of the site, not slope toward the house.

– Compacted soil.

The soil used to back fill around foundations settles over the years. As it does grading can flatten or even begin to slope toward the foundation.

– Soil erosion.

Wind and water can cause erosion resulting in flat or negative grades.

It’s very easy to check the grade around your house. All you need a level and a flat, thin, straight piece of wood or metal that won’t sag. This is what you do:

1. Remove any decorative rock or mulch from near your house as you want to take the measurement on bare ground.

2. Put the piece of wood or metal on the ground next to the house.

3. Place a level on the wood or metal perpendicular to the house. Raise the lower end of the level until the bubble centers on the indicator.

4. Measure the height between the end of the level furthest from the house and the ground. This will tell you how many inches of drop there is from the house.

As mentioned earlier the ground should slope away from the house for several feet at a grade of at least 1 inch per foot. For example if you’re using a 3 foot level, there should be a 3 inch difference between the two ends of the level. This may not seem like much but it’s all you need to keep water away from your house.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about grading or installing new gutters.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.