If the soil around your house sits at too low of a grade, water may run toward your home's foundation. When water runs in the direction of your house, it can leak in through any cracks or holes and cause moisture issues in basements. Or it may stand against the side of the house, weakening the structure. You can prevent both of these issues by raising the soil grade around the house.
Measure the slope in the soil surrounding your house to determine the amount which the soil grade needs to be raised. Set one end of a 10-foot wood board on the ground directly next to your home's foundation and set a level on top of the board. Lift the opposite end of the board until the level shows that the board is sitting even. Measure the distance between the end of the board and the ground.
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Figure out the amount of slope that you want to create around the foundation. Minimum standards regarding the soil grade around your home vary from location to location, but more slope away from your home is always better when it comes to reducing moisture problems. If you only have a 2-inch distance between the end of the board and the ground when you take your measurement, for instance, you may want to increase the grade so that the distance is 4, 5 or 6 inches.
Begin building up the soil grade around your house by dumping dirt right up against the foundation. Add enough soil to the ground by the foundation to create a good base, and take another measurement from the base of the house with the 10-foot board to find the difference in the slope. When you are satisfied with the soil grade, build the soil up around the entire foundation to that height.
Fill in the rest of the area around the foundation to 10 feet out from the perimeter of the house. Add dirt to lower heights as you move out away from the house to create a steady, gradual slope away from the foundation.
Lay the board over the ground once you complete the slope to make sure the board slopes down without any holes or dips beneath it. Check the slope at 1-foot intervals to ensure the slope is consistent around the entire house.