Taking Care of Your Water Drainage System

Clearing autumn leaves by hand from the gutter with a trowel.

Water damage to your home’s foundation is a nightmare, and an unnecessary one at that. Choosing and installing proper gutters and grading will prevent rainwater from pooling around your home’s foundation, seeping into your basement, and attracting insects.

However, the work's not over after installation. The following are six drainage system tips to keep water away from your home.

1. Check the Attachment Points

Make sure the gutters are firmly attached. A loose or broken fastener can change the slope and prevent the water from draining out of the troughs, causing it to overflow and pool in undesirable places.

2. Seal the Joints

Sectional gutters need to have the seams resealed with caulk or a sealant specially designed for gutters in order to prevent leaking. This is especially important in winter months. Water that freezes and expands in the gutter will eventually have to melt; weakened seams will allow it to leak and flow in the wrong direction. You can also choose to get seamless gutters, but you should do your research before deciding if this is right for you.

3. Clean the Channel

Gutters can plug up with leaves, seeds, and needles from nearby evergreens, so it's important that you keep them cleaned out. Most people stand on a ladder and remove debris by hand. However, you can also use a hose or a pressure washer to clear them out at least once a year—more if there are lots of trees.

4. Install a Guard

If you seem to be constantly cleaning your gutters, consider installing a gutter guard to keep the bigger leaves out. Just be aware that this is not a 100-percent preventative measure. Any gutter guard system has to have some openings in it to let water in, so seeds and other organic material will also get into the troughs and will need to be cleaned out periodically.

5. Maintain Your Yard

Over time, soil will compact or wash away with the seasons, it's important to maintain the grade of your property. Adding some soil along your foundation and sloping it away will help keep water out of your basement.

6. Protect Your Windows

The rain coming down on your house doesn't just hit the roof. Some runs down the sides and into your window wells. Covers will keep this water out of the wells, and stop it from soaking into the ground right beside your foundation walls.