DIY Home Inspection Part 2. Not ready to go inside yet.

Wednesday May 05th, 2021


In the last edition, we talked about looking at the outside of the house.  In my next section, I will go over the inside of the house.

I forgot to go over one other thing to look at before looking at the inside of the house. 


Why is this important?  Poor drainage resulting in leaky basements often stems from having an insufficient slope away from the foundation.  To do land grading properly, you must first know how much slope you need to have away from the house foundation. Walk around the whole house, making sure the grade slopes away from the foundation and basement wall. A good rule of thumb is the ground should slope away from the foundation with a verticle drop of about 8 inches, 2 feet of horizontal distance from the wall. 

Check sidewalks and patios as well. Properly made paved surfaces should slope away from the foundation by a pitch of about 1/4 inch per horizontal foot of distance. If you find that not to be the case, then you have to do some math and/or budget for this to be corrected. 

Check the downspouts. They should be at least 4 feet away from the house. You can get horizontal extensions to solve this problem. 

Check the driveway. If it slopes towards the house, that may be a bit of an expensive fix. Again, you must factor this into your final decision to put an offer in and possibly buying the house.


Check Your Neighbor's Runoff

by Bob Formisano is an architect and builder who has managed commercial and residential projects over a 30-plus year career. 


Another common source of problems, especially with small lots where the houses are close together, is water being directed toward your house from a neighbor's property. This often results from poor landscape grading on the neighbor's property or a roofline, roof gutter system, or downspout extension that directs water toward your home. It's also fairly common for new construction on a neighboring property to cause water problems for adjoining homes because it changes the way the water had been draining. 



Most neighbors will take measures to correct the problem if you diplomatically draw attention to the issue. If reluctant, they also can be legally compelled to fix the problem if they are in violation of area codes.


One solution for water runoff problems is called a French Drain System. This is a landscape project in which a gravel-filled trench helps to direct water in the direction you want. When combined with landscape grading that directs water away from the foundation and toward the French drain, it is a very effective method. A French drain system installed on the property line between two closely adjoined houses can help relieve water problems for both homes. Friendly neighbors might even be willing to share the cost of installing such a system. 

Border kerb between lawn and sidewalk in a park






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