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Drainage Problem -- But Only During Snowmelt

2669 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Daniel Holzman
Hi, I'm new to the forum, but I have what seems to be an odd situation.

I get water in my basement on the gable ends of my house. There are no eaves on the gables. The odd thing is that I only have this problem during the first snow melt. I live in Minnesota, so there is a lot of snow, and the ground gets frozen pretty hard and still frozen after the snow melts.

It's a fairly level stretch of yard on the worse of the two ends. There is about 15 feet between the house and garage.

My theory is that since the ground is frozen, that water has no where to go. But it pools under the snow and trickles in next to the foundation block wall and then into the basement. During the hardest of summer rains I have not seen a drop in the basement.

I am considering putting in ground gutters:

  • Dig down 1 foot, out 2-3 feet, and along the whole gable end.
  • Put in some thick mil plastic the whole length of the gable.
  • Secure it to the foundation block with fur strips.
  • Caulk the fur strips.
  • Seal the outside of the block with an appropriate water sealer.
  • Replace the dirt and regrade.
Has anyone heard of a problem like this? Any thoughts on whether this solution will help?

Thanks much in advance.


Oh, and my brother has already given me the sage advice of shoveling out the gables when it snows. I am looking for a more permanent solution! :)
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I am looking for a more permanent solution!
Ayuh,... Regrade the yard so water Can't lay there....
This is actually a fairly common problem in extremely cold climates. I lived in Wisconsin for ten years, and I saw it frequently there. You are correct in your analysis, when snow melts in the spring, and the ground is still frozen, the frozen ground acts as an impermeable layer. This causes the water to sit on top of the frozen ground, and effectively raises the water table temporarily, until the ground unfreezes, and the water can percolate downward. You don't get the problem during summer rains because the permanent water table is probably well below your basement elevation.

Solution: As previously noted, make sure the ground slopes away from your house at a minimum of 1 inch per foot, preferably 2 inches per foot. That way, when the snow melts, the water will not pool next to your house, and will be discouraged from penetrating through your foundation wall into the basement.
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