Tips for Foundation Drainage and Watering

Do this…

  1. The yard next to your home should slope away from the house for at least 5 feet. This is
    to ensure that water does not pool next to the foundation, which will cause uneven
    settlement and, possibly, upheavals.
  2. Rain gutters are an excellent means of controlling where rain water is displaced around your home. When installing rain gutters, pay close attention that the downspouts release water only in areas with good drainage.
  3. Your foundation needs water, but too much or too little water WILL create foundation problems. The key to foundation stability is to maintain a consistent moisture level around the home (which is why rain water should be directed away, as Mother Nature is inconsistent) year ‘round. Sprinkler systems help tremendously, but normally do not provide enough water AT the foundation. Therefore, use of a soaker hose is highly recommended, even in conjunction with a sprinkler system.


  1. You should always use the round, porous hose and not the flat hose with holes on top.
    The porous hose allows water to “ooze” out evenly along the length of even a very long
    section of hose, and allows you to turn the water valve on full without the concern of
    uneven water distribution.
  2. The soaker hose should be placed approximately 8-12” away from the foundation – not right against the home. You do not have to water across driveways or patios, but watering around patios (as if they were an extension of your foundation) will help to keep them more stable as well.
  3. The soaker hose should be used at the coolest part of the day, as feasible, to prevent large amounts of evaporation and give the most benefit to the soils. Battery powered timers (available in the garden center near garden hoses at Home Depot or Lowe’s) are an inexpensive way to “remember” to water, as well as allowing you to water during the coolest times of day.
  4. The soaker hose should be used for 1 to 2 hours (increase by 30 minutes in areas with large bushes or a lot of foliage) all the way around the home under the following schedule:
    -Below 600 days: usually unnecessary unless we are in a drought.
    -60-750 days: 1 time per week
    -75-950 days: 2 times per week (staggered)
    -950 and higher: 3 times per week (staggered)

Don’t do this…

  1. The dirt around your home should not be at the top of your foundation. This will allow
    both moisture and insect penetration into your home. Soil should be at least ½” below
    the top of the concrete foundation, and slope away from the house from there.
  2. Trees and large shrubs (like photinias and large hollies) should be planted at least 10 feet away from the home, as these root system drink a tremendous amount of water from the soil under your home, and they also can create breaks in your plumbing system.
  3. Gutter downspouts should never empty water into an area where it will be trapped near the foundation – like flower beds with raised edging, low spots, court yards, etc. Pooling water can create uneven foundation movement, and more severe problems like upheavals.
  4. Call us with any questions or concerns about the drainage around your home!

Mark Serrioz: TREC Lic. #20867
Phone: 972-679-1775
Email: Mark@ExpertDFW.com
Texas Association of Realtors