Water infiltration, basement walls cracking?

Water intrusion

Water Infiltration, will a yard drain solve all my problems, or just trade problems?

My friend, Joe Lundequam a home inspector based in Stillwater, MN addresses water infiltration and cracking walls often.

As a home inspector he sees a lot of basements with varying degrees of moisture intrusion. There a lot of problems associated with water getting into basements.         Bulging basement wall

They include mold, rotted building materials, bad smells and damaged personal property. Joe suggests keeping your tax records in the attic, NOT the basement.

Dealing with moisture after it gets in include drain systems (i.e. Beaver’s waterproofing system), sump pumps and dehumidifiers. That’s fine dealing with the symptom.

However, there remains the issue of water pressure against the foundation walls, which gets worse at times of sudden frost.

Often Joe sees long, horizontal cracks along the walls, This indicates water/frost pressure has damaged the foundation.

Better to keep the water far away from the house in the first place, says Joe.

Water Infiltration prevention requires proper landscaping.


Proper landscaping includes a slope of one inch per foot for the first six feet from the house and using five foot extensions on the downspouts.

Easier said than done, right? Downspout extensions may cause a trip hazard, and a lot of homes are built on fairly flat ground.

Flat ground near the building. Note the siding is already close to grade. This will make creating a slope more difficult, even if the sidewalk wasn’t in the way.

How about a yard drain?


Bury a pipe with a slight slope away from the house, and use it to direct rain water far away to keep the foundation dry. Installation is a weekend project, and maintenance is easy and infrequent.

NOTE: Do NOT connect the downspout directly to the drain. Because, if (when) water freezes underground, it could (will) back up and damage the downspout. Instead, install an inlet with a grate, and position the downspout a couple of inches above it.

Joe the owner of Paladin Inspection Services,  likes to share his vast knowledge while helping solve home owner and buyer property issues. Therefore, you are invited to call Joe at (651) 307-1384 with your questions about houses or inspections anytime. Paladin Inspection Blog or by email

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