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Yard and Soil Grading

Poor soil grading can have a damaging effect on your property, especially the basement and foundation.

The landscaping around your Colorado home plays a critical role in preventing water from damaging your foundation. Problems can occur when the yard slopes towards your property. This often results in rainwater and melting snow from your gutters pooling near the base of your home, leading to foundation water damage. You can avoid expensive foundation repairs and avert basement water issues by ensuring your yard has a positive grading. 

What Is Yard/Soil Grading? 

Yard grading involves landscaping your yard to create a downward slope from your foundation to the rest of the yard. This helps prevent water from pooling up at the foundation and potentially damaging it. 

Grading the yard involves moving dirt from one place to another using a wheelbarrow and a flat shovel or rake. Before you start any grading, measure the current grade and set your goal for the grade you want to achieve. The minimum slope away from your foundation should be two to three inches for every 10 feet to prevent drainage problems. 

Types of Yard Grading 

There are two main types of yard grading: 

Positive grading: A positive grade is when your property sits at the highest point of your yard. As a result, the angle of the slope goes downwards from your foundation, draining water away from your property. This type of grade is ideal because it keeps water from pooling up near your foundation. 

Negative grading: A yard has a negative grade when your home sits at the lowest point of your plot. As such, its leveling goes into the foundation instead of away from it. This is not good because water will pool up on your foundation, causing significant structural damage. You can change your yard from a negative to a positive grading by building up soil around your foundation. 

Signs That You Need to Regrade Your Yard 

A negative grade can cause many foundation issues that can end up costing you a lot of money. Some common signs of negative grading include: 

  • Dying landscaping 
  • Water pooling around your home 
  • Mold and mildew issues 
  • Frequent basement flooding 
  • Poor drainage throughout your yard 
  • Wet, damp, or musty basement or crawl space 
  • Foundation settlement issues 

How to Fix a Negative Grade 

Fortunately, the contractors working in the Colorado area can help to regrade your home. The most common solution to fixing a negative grade is by building up the soil surrounding your foundation. This is done by adding fill dirt or topsoil to your foundation’s perimeter to create a slope so that water drains away from your house. The steps involved in fixing a negative grade include: 

Step 1: Prepare the land 

Remove any grass, plants, or debris from the perimeter of your foundation. This will create a clean slate for you to add in the new soil. 

Step 2: Raise the level of soil near your foundation 

You can add in topsoil if you plan to improve the soil for planting. Use fill dirt if you want to cover the area with gravel. 

Step 3: Tamp down the soil 

The goal is to create a positive grade that moves from the foundation down towards the yard. Add in more soil as you go to form a six to eight-inch drop over 10 feet of your yard from the foundation. 

Step 4: Landscape 

Once you achieve the correct grading, you can put the grass back or plant new plants into the topsoil. You can also choose to put down a bed of gravel or river stones as a perimeter. 

Other options available to protect your home from grading issues include: 

  • Catch basin installation: This involves installing grate-covered piping systems near your foundation to drain water away from your home. 
  • Proper guttering: A clear and gunk-free gutter system prevents water from leaking into the ground surrounding your home, protecting it from water damage. 
  • Foundation waterproofing: Although foundation waterproofing does not correct your yard’s grade, it effectively protects your home from water damage. 

Do not let poor grading threaten the integrity of your home’s foundation or the health of your basement. Schedule a free exterior waterproofing inspection with the experts at Complete Basement Systems to determine the best solutions to protect your home from water damage. 

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Denver, CO 80216