The Quick Guide to Proper Soil Grading

November 20, 2012 Comments Off

Proper soil grading is a crucial part of preparing a lot for a home, or of adding additional landscaping to a property. If your lot is incorrectly graded, your topsoil will erode and your beautiful lawn will quickly become a muddy mess.

Depending on the location of your home on your lot, you could also end up with water in your basement after your first major storm. There are several benefits to grading your soil properly.

Proper Grading Helps Prevent Basement Leaks
Basement flooding is no joke. Whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, a flood can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in just a few hours. Luckily, most basement leaks can be prevented by proper soil grading. The type of grading you’ll need to do will depend on the location of your house as well as how steep the existing grade is.

Proper Grading Helps Reduce Erosion
While soil grading can help you to fix or prevent a leaky basement, it also works to prevent topsoil erosion. After all, who wants to spend their hard earned money on flower beds, topsoil and landscaping, only to see their effort go running down the hill in a muddy stream the first time it rains? Careful grading helps reduce the speed that water runs across your lot, preventing or eliminating erosion.

Make an Educated Decision About Grading Your Lot
Whether you’ll be grading your lot yourself or hiring a contractor, it’s important that you understand the process. Knowing a little bit about grading will help you ensure that you’re getting the correct grade for your lot so that you can prevent erosion and basement leaks.

Grading for a House on a Hill
The soil around your home’s foundation should slope away from your home. Ideally, the ground should slope out from your structure for several feet, at a grade of one inch per foot. This will allow water to drain away from your house.

If your home is already on a hill, your contractor may need to create a swale around your house. This method of grading routes rainwater runoff around your home and down the hill, instead of allowing it to follow it’s natural route (directly into your foundation).

Grading for a House on a Flat Lot
If your home is located on a perfectly flat lot, it may be necessary for your contractor to install piping from your roof to your lot, to route runoff away from your home’s foundation. This will help you to manage surface water accumulation and help you reduce the chances of water leaking into your basement.

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an existing home or landscaping your lot, remember to spend some time focusing on grading your soil properly. While it’s an up-front investment, your lawn will stand up to wear and tear better, your landscaping will last longer and your basement will stay drier.

If you don’t have the equipment or know-how to grade the soil yourself, talk to a local lawn and garden contractor. They’ll be able to help you to determine the proper grade and rework your landscaping accordingly. An ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure in this case. Leak-proof your basement today, before the rainy season really hits, by grading the soil around your home.

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