Great floods and unexpected water levels will always be a concern for homeowners, especially those with basements, as there is only so much we can do once Mother Nature has set her course. However, your basement should not be leaking and wet every time it rains. If this is a problem that you are experiencing, there are things that you can do to protect your underground man cave, gym, theater or storage area.

Taking the right precautions can save you money, time and headaches in the future, and it may even help protect against large, unforeseen natural disasters.

Prevent basement flooding with these simple tips

1. Grade your lawn correctly: If the yard around your home grades or slopes toward the house instead of away from it, you are at risk of basement flooding. When it rains, the water has to go somewhere. Ideally, your lawn is sloped so that rainwater runs away from your walls and toward city streets and gutters.

If you take a walk around your home and notice that your lawn does in fact slope toward your outside walls, there are many landscaping options that you have to fix this. The good thing is that you can get as creative as you want so that your solution fits your design style while decreasing your flood risk.

Try these landscaping solutions:

  • Diverting rain spouts
  • Installing a rain garden
  • Installing a green roof
  • Digging out a swale (an indention of some sort in your lawn that will divert rain)
  • Using heavier mulch

2. Leave a gap between your mulch and your siding: When using mulch in flower beds and other areas around your home, it is important to keep a barrier (about 6 inches or so) between the landscaping and your outside walls. This is especially the case with siding and other building materials that may not be as durable against water as brick is.

3. Extend downspouts and make sure they are turned away from your home: Instead of connecting downspouts to your footer drain or having them end right above the ground around your home, add some more material so that the water runs out of the spout further away from the outside perimeter.

Be sure to direct it toward lawn areas that are graded away from your home so that the water does not simply flow back toward your outside walls and sit. Should it do so, the water build-up during heavy rains will saturate the ground, eventually causing basement flooding.

4. Clean out your gutters in the spring and fall: Leaves and sticks add up in your gutters. If you are not regularly cleaning them out, you are putting your home at risk for flooding. During a heavy rain, blocked gutters don’t drain correctly, forcing the water to dump directly below them onto the foundation around the perimeter of your home.

These clogs cause more violent rainfall to hit the ground because the water is being forced out with nowhere else to go instead of drizzled from the sky. This force pounds your foundation with heavy precipitation as if it’s being soaked by the bucket drop at you favorite water park–only this time it’s not fun and refreshing.

5. Install a sump pump (and a back-up system): Finally, you may want to put a little money into prevention so you don’t have to spend a lot on resolution. By installing an automatic sump pump in your basement, you can keep water buildup from normal rainfall in check and prevent basement flooding.

If you’re not familiar, sump pumps pretty much act like a big floor drain, sucking any water out of your basement or out of the surrounding foundation and redirecting it elsewhere out of harm’s way. Backup sump pumps will kick on should the first one go out. For example, there are battery-operated options that startup if the power goes out rendering the first one useless.