Skip to Main Content

Top 5 Foundation Drainage Methods

If frequent rainfall often pools around your foundation, then you probably need a foundation drainage system to protect it. If you don’t, you’ll inevitably face water damage.

In this article, we make getting the right drainage solution easy as pie.

This article counts down our top 5 foundation drainage methods to help you find the right one for your home.

If there’s one thing that can make your choice easier, it’s calling a foundation waterproofing expert to help determine exactly which drainage method is best for your home. You can save time today and get a FREE inspection from Ohio Basement Authority.

flooding yard next to house

Our Top 5 Best Foundation Drainage Systems

While there are different ways to address water pooling around your foundation, here are our top 5:

1. Exterior Drainage

Most homes are built with exterior footing drains that move water from the soil away from your foundation, preventing hydrostatic pressure and basement leaks.

As long as the drains are properly functioning, your home is secure. However, drains will break down over time and inevitably fail. Buried in a trench, the surrounding soil can crush and clog them.

While they are a building requirement, it’s important to install additional solutions to shore up your home’s defenses.

2. Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and properly installed downspouts are another crucial step in preventing foundation damage.

Roof gutters stop rainwater from spilling down from your roof, while downspouts channel that water away from your foundation

These systems also rely on properly grading your yard, which happens to be our next point.

crew installing drainage and downspouts

3. Yard Grading

Over time, the dirt around your home’s foundation tends to harden and settle, and two things happen that can hurt your home:

  • Your yard may begin to slope back towards your home (what’s called “negative grade”). This results in the water your downspouts are trying send away from your foundation comes trickling back towards it.
  • You may discover dips or depressions where your foundation meets the soil where water is slowly (or not so slowly) eroding the support around it.

Either way, water always takes the path of least resistance. It will flow to the lowest-lying area and form puddles around your foundation.

To prevent this, call a trusted local landscaping expert to help get your yard back to “positive grade” that, at minimum declines 6 inches for every 10 feet away from the foundation.

While landscapers can also build up any dips and depressions in your yard, you can probably do this step yourself and save a little on foundation repair costs. Just do the following:

  • Add soil to the dip (avoid using sand or mulch, as they can hold more water and don’t compress well).
  • Take care to compact the soil thoroughly.
  • Leave a gap of at least 4 inches between the siding and the soil to prevent siding rot and deny termites and ants an easy access point into your home.

4. Curtain Drains

Negative grade is one thing, but if your home is located at the bottom of a hill, you face a different challenge entirely when you try to direct water away from the foundation. In your case, curtain drains are key.

Install curtain drains along the edge of the incline to intercept and divert the flow of water away from your home.

Installation is best left to the pros, since positioning is really, really important. The process involves digging a trench near the home’s foundation and laying a perforated pipe within it. The pipe is then covered with gravel or stone, and the area is filled in, creating a visible stripe of stone along your yard.

Curtain drains aren’t usually a standalone solution because they can usually only stop water from coming at your home from a single direction. They should be combined with other drainage measures for optimal effectiveness.

5. Interior Drainage Systems (The Best Option)

Interior drainage systems are the most effective way to protect your foundation from water damage. Even if you don’t have exterior drainage, curtain drains, or positive grading, interior drainage protects your foundation from the inside out.

If you have a basement, then BasementGutter™ is a great place to start. If your house sits on a crawl space, then perimeter drains and matting are the right move.

These foundation drainage systems collect water that gets into your foundation and direct it toward a sump pump. The sump pump moves that water out and away from your home where it can’t damage anything.

Interior drainage systems are comprehensive solutions for mitigating water damage and protecting your home’s foundation. Coupled with a wall vapor barrier and a dehumidifier, your foundation won’t have to reckon with the forces of nature—the forces of nature will have to reckon with your foundation.

crew installing interior drainage in basement

How to Get Comprehensive Foundation Drainage Today

Dealing with water issues around your foundation can be a daunting task, but Ohio Basement Authority makes it easy. We are Ohio’s leading experts in identifying and resolving the state’s most complex foundation problems.

Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and no-obligation repair estimate. Our team of professionals is ready to provide you with custom-engineered foundation drainage solutions that will keep your home safe, dry, and free from water damage.

OBA inspector meeting with homeowners


Some common signs that your home may need foundation drainage solutions include water pooling around the foundation, cracks in the foundation walls or floors, musty odors in the basement, and signs of mold growth. These indicators often point to excess moisture buildup, which can lead to structural damage if left unaddressed.

Yes, proper drainage is equally important for homes with crawl spaces. Ohio Basement Authority offers the CrawlDrain™ system, which is a specialized drainage system designed for crawl spaces. It works in tandem with a sump pump to collect and remove any water that may enter the crawl space area.

Absolutely! Ohio Basement Authority takes a comprehensive approach to home repair and can combine foundation drainage solutions with other services like basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, foundation repair, and more. This integrated approach ensures that all aspects of moisture control and structural integrity are addressed for long-term protection of your home.

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

Ohio Basement Authority Service Map

Our Locations

Cincinnati Office

1270 Hillsmith Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45215

Cleveland Office

7950 Bavaria Rd.
Twinsburg, OH 44087

Columbus Office

2421 McGaw Rd.
Obetz, OH 43207

Dayton Office

70 Birch Alley, Suite 240
Beavercreek, OH, 45440

Dublin Office

5650 Blazer Memorial Pkwy, #124
Dublin, OH 43017

Akron Office

429 Portage Blvd
Kent, OH 44240