Improper grading is taken very seriously by home inspectors due to the structural implications. The job of a graded slope is to direct rain runoff away from the home. If the landscape is not sloped accordingly, it can result in water pooling around your home’s foundation. Some homeowners are unaware of the importance of setting the grade for their landscape, but since it can result in serious damage, it’s critical to learn why your landscape should have a graded slope.
What are the Dangers of an Improperly Graded Slope?
If the landscape is flat or sloping toward the house, it can result in rain runoff puddling around the foundation. As water pools up around the house, it begins to damage the foundation. This water wreaks havoc in several ways:
- Soil Expansion: When the earth around the foundation absorbs water, it expands, applying increased pressure and causing stress cracks.
- Soil Erosion: An excess of water pooling around your home can cause the soil to erode, and this lack of support can cause the foundation to crack, shift, or even sink.
- Concrete Corrosion: Concrete is porous and will absorb water pooling at the base of your house. Over time, the water will wear away at the concrete from within or, in the winter, can freeze and expand, pushing the concrete outward.
If enough of your home is exposed to water, it can even cause the house’s framing to rot, further compromising the structural integrity. This potential danger is why it’s essential to hire an experienced home inspector.
What Must be Done if Your Landscape Isn’t Appropriately Sloped?
Poor grade sloping is a common problem found by home inspectors, but it’s fortunately an inexpensive and often an easy fix. Sometimes it’s as simple as shoveling soil toward the foundation or relocating soil from another part of the property. However, it’s important to be mindful of a few things:
- Use Topsoil or Grading Soil: These soils will keep the water at grade level until it can be diverted.
- Do Not Use Sand: Sand absorbs and holds water for longer than soil and can easily be dispersed.
- Do Not Cover Your Siding with Soil: This will invite termites into your home or may contribute to wood rot or mold.
If you’re unsure if water has damaged your home, inspect the basement to discover if there are signs of water damage. Knowing why your landscape should have a graded slope is important for protecting the structural integrity of your home. What may seem like a minor nuisance can be wreaking havoc on your foundation. That’s why the Homeinex Corporation includes grading and yard drainage as a part of its comprehensive home inspection. If you’re interested in selling or buying a home, contact us to determine where any issues may lie.