When you are planning to build a new custom home or put an addition on an existing home something that a lot of people don't think about is the finished grade that will be around the home.
I have seen a lot of homes that are either built into hills or in area's that have water runoff that didn't think about the grading and ended up with water problems after construction was finished.
What makes it worse is that these water problems only show up at certain times of the year. Usually when there is a large snow melt, or an extremely heavy rain storm.
Now some people can live with a little water penetration into there garage or basement or crawlspace once a year or once every two years when you have some freak weather. But what if the weather becomes more freakish all the time. Well with climate change the weather has been changing and becoming more freakish every season, we are breaking records every year for extreme weather and it only looks like its going to get worse not better. That means that the little bit of moisture or water penetration that you handle with a dehumidifier starts to become a constant wet area.
When something becomes a constant wet area then you start to get mold issues, you get wood starting to rot, you get water freezing because of the extreme temperature changes, when water freezes inside concrete or concrete block you have structural damage that starts to happen. Concrete will crack and start to crumble. The more that happens the more water is able to get in and the more damage occurs.
Overtime you don't have a moisture issue you have a major water damage problem. That will cost you a significant amount of money to rehabilitate. A lot of times insurance will not cover these problems.
All of this because you didn't spend enough time considering how the home can best shed water. Now a lot of people do the simple thing like not going deep in the ground with their lower levels, that's a good start but if your house is on any type of grade then water will hit the foundation of your home like water hitting a dam in a river. The water when it is stopped starts to spread out until it finds a path of least resistance, sometimes that's into your home.
Now the simple thing to do is to slope all the area's away from the home, except that if your are on any kind of grade the water can build up enough force that it will travel up the slope and stay against the foundation. The other factor that most people do not consider is that in the spring when you have had a lot of snow fall over the winter, that snow falls off the roof, then the snow can build up freezing and creating a dam near the house. This dam will hold water against the foundation until it penetrates it.
How do you stop this? You need not just positive grade away from the home but you need large sections where the snow can spread out away from the home, weepers in the ground to help take the melt water away from the home. One other thing that you can do is design the roof of the home so that it sheds most of it's water away from the higher grade, this eliminates the snow from piling up on the uphill side. This can be achieved by turning the pitch of the roof, adding dormers or building a different type of roof like a low slope roof that slopes to the downhill side.
This type of thing though must be thought about before your new build or addition starts to be constructed, it goes back to the planning stage with your architect. Doing these types of things will ensure that you don't have a lot of problems later with water and a lot of clean up bills.
Village Builders Inc.