Proper Grading Around Your House

Why grading around your house is so important.

Grading plays a key role in where water goes around your home and on your property. A majority of foundation issues come from poor grading.

When you’re looking at the grading of your home, you should be looking all around the house, including the landscaping around your home, paved areas, lawn, gardens etc. The goal with good grading is to get the water that fall on your roof, off the home and away from the foundation.

Good grading typically looks like a 1 inch drop for every foot that you move away from the home, for the first 5-10 feet around the home. This may not always be possible, but just keep in mind, at the very least – we don’t want the ground sloping towards the home and foundation.

grading slope measurement

To work on fixing your grading, essentially you would add soil next to the foundation, sloping away from the home. Remember though, you should have about four inches of your foundation (concrete, stone, block, etc.) showing above your soil. Avoid contact between soil and your siding.

If you don’t have much room to add soil, you may have to remove some from around the foundation, and then away from the home accordingly – keeping in mind, 1 inch drop for every foot away from the home.

Reseal around your driveway

When we talk about grading, another thing we look at is your driveway. Maintaining your driveway is critical to ensure the water runs down it instead of under it, and towards your foundation. This is especially true for homes with driveways that run up against the home.

If your driveway has seen serious aging, cracking, etc – we suggest calling a professional for an evaluation quickly.

If your driveway has some minor aging and cracks, then we recommend re-sealing those cracks, seals (grout), either yourself or by hiring a professional.

One popular product for this task is Flex Seal. They have a wide lineup of products, some of which are designed specifically for this purpose. If you’re unsure, consult your nearest hardware store where you’ll likely find a wide range of similar products. Be sure to tell them what you’re up to!

Concrete Porches

When looking at your grading, looking around any concrete slabs or porches is an important step. While a little settling (sinking) is common over time, and not cause for huge concern – any cracking, crumbling, or serious sinking of the slab or porch is a sign of possible poor grading. The same concepts around your homes foundation apply to your porches or any slabs around the home. You want to ensure your grading around the slab or porch is sloped away.

If your slab or porch isn’t in poor condition, but beginning to sink, it would be a good time to look into adding more soil if possible to fix the grading around it. If this isn’t possible, or it’s deteriorating quickly – we recommend a professional evaluation. An expert may be able to pull or manipulate the porch in such a way that it could be saved, or preserved – or, if bad enough, it may need to be demolished and replaced.

It probably goes without saying but, the photo below is an example of a porch that has definitely gone too far! Safety concern!


One more consideration when looking at the grading around your house, is vegetation. Some landscaping and gardening around your home for curb appeal isn’t a huge issue, but be aware some larger bushes and trees near your foundation could contribute to poor grading conditions.

Consider especially any large trees in the area. Some large trees, even many feet away from the home, have has plenty of time to build up serious roots that could be growing into the direction of your home.

Generally speaking, any tree within 5 to 10 feet of the home, should be considered a potential hazard.

Tree’s should be planted 15 to 30 feet away from the home, and again depending on the size, that may even be too close.

There are many considerations and things to look for when it comes to large trees, and they can cause issues from foundation damage, to plumbing damage, to tripping hazards and more. Trees and their roots close to the home can even attract termites.

It’s best to hire an expert to evaluate any situation with larger trees to tell you whether or not any trees on your property should be removed, and it’s especially important to hire an expert to remove any trees that may cause problems, to prevent any serious casualties to yourself or your home in the removal process.

If you enjoyed this post and learned something new, check out some of our other posts!

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