How to Correct a Grade for Rain Water Runoff

Grace Restivo

Unless the proper grading is in place, rainwater runoff can cause multiple problems to a foundation. Standing runoff water directed toward the foundation wall has the potential to soften the soil around the foundation, increasing the chances of seeping into the basement or crawlspace. According to Massachusetts Home Inspections, most wet basements caused by accumulating water are correctable once the runoff flows away from the foundation.

  1. Drive one stake into the soil at the base of the house foundation. Measure and drive another stake 8 feet from the first into the yard area.

  2. Attach a string to each end of the stakes assuring the string is level with a line level. Flag each foot of string with a piece of tape.

  3. Measure down from each tape and record the distance from the string to the soil. This will determine if soil needs to be added or removed.

  4. Distribute soil with a rake beginning at the stake closest to the house and working into the yard, creating a ¼-inch pitch at each 1-foot flag. Add or remove soil until you achieve the correct pitch between the two stakes. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until the entire yard is complete.

  5. Compact the soil using a hand tamp. Avoid over-tamping the soil, as it will create soil that is too dense for growth.

  6. Remove rocks and debris from the area with a grading rake. Begin raking at the foundation and work toward the yard.