Proper grading ensures that surface water drains away from your foundation and is thus critical to ensuring a healthy house structure.
The exterior grading should have a slight downwards slope away from the house, to help direct water away from the foundation. Downspouts should also discharge at least 5 feet away from the foundation, and the grading should not be such that discharge water then flows back towards the house.
Moisture is the home’s number one enemy. Directing water away from the house will go a long way to ensure a healthy, dry, structure.
With snow and ice build up, it may be difficult to determine is the grading is appropriate. One area a home inspector watches for is between a paved driveway and the house foundation. A driveway may direct water to this intersection, and if not properly sealed, water could be directed to the foundation where it has no other option but to flow down, through the soil along the foundation wall. This can lead to moisture issues in the basement.
Raised beds installed around the house foundation can also create grading issues, as these often prevent water from running away from the house foundation.
A home inspector will report on the grading of the lot around the house perimeter.