Best Way to Add Dirt So Rainwater Drains Away From House

My front yard slopes towards the house. I went to a a nursery to buy dirt to build up the yard so it slopes away from the house. The nursery guy told me to go to a landscaping company because there are different kinds of dirt - some hold water others don't - to find out which kind of dirt I need. Do I need dirt that holds or or repells water?
Thanks,
Mike
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Mike wrote:

First, check the vertical distance from ground to wood or top of slab. It's best to check at several poinst if possible. Top of grade should be six or eight inches below the top of slab or top of masonry supporting wood sill plate.
Starting at the desired top of grade, look to see if you can add fill dirt or need to excavate to get the slope you want.
Do you have water in your crawl space or basement? The group could use that info to give suggestions. TB
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It's a full basement w/ some mositure (not water) on the floor where the floor meets the wall. There is paneling over the wall. The basement window in that section is about 6"-8" above the ground. The ground slopes toward the house. If I run the dehumidifier overnight it'll usually dry the floor. I'd prefer not to destroy the landscaping by excavating, if possible.
Mike
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Clay or clay soil is best. You want something that will not allow water to seep through nor hold water. It should be much cheaper than dirt. If you want to save some money try to avoid nurseries--they are usually 2 or 3 X the cost of getting your "fill dirt" from somewhere else. Check contractors, farmers, Yellow Pages, etc. Expect to pay at least $50 just for the delivery. Around here (E.TN), clay soil can be had for free.
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I've been buying topsoil in 40 lb bags and the price varies considerably. The topsoil holds water. I'll find someplace that'll deliver clay based soir\\l
Mike
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Just dig a one foot wide wide trench along the wall and install a drainage system using 4 inch plastic pipe. The low end of the pipe connects to drainage pipe that discharges into your storm sewer system.
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wrote:

how dep should the trench be?
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Your damp floor indicates that you have minor seepage, so I'd dig as far as I could and call it a day. In a perfect world the drainage would be about a foot beneath the basement floor.
Of course, the house should never have been built with drainage moving toward the house. So all you are doing is giving the ground water a quick escape away from the house.
The 100 year flood plain solution is a sump pump in your basement.
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wrote:

The house is 70 years old
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I understand. Also, I meant the surface rainwater falling on the ground and running toward the house should be quickly moved away from the house. Ground water is something else and I shouldn't have used that word.
In my neighborhood, 20 year old houses were not graded properly and many have water standing in the backyard after every rain. My suggestion is what they did to get the water away from the house. Gravel and 4 inches of sandyloam provide excellent drainage and st augustine covers it all up. The only clue is the pvc pipe dumping water into the street sewer system.
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having been tere done this suck it up and install a interior french drain preferably with the drin dumping water below the level of the basemnent floor well away from the home. gravity is far better than a pump.
this is the sure cure for water moisture troubles.
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wrote:

I don't have any experience w/ this. Can you direct me to a website where I read attempting to understand what I need to do? Your explanation is helpful, of course just I'd like to get more background on it.

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Mike is on the right track. Installing a drain system, either inside the basement or outside, is not a subsitute for correct grading. If the yard slopes toward the house and can easily be fixed by regrading, that is exactly what should be done first.
A lot depends on how much soil needs to be added and what goes over it. If it's a few inchs and grass will go over it, then straight topsoil is going to be the correct solution. And IMO, that is likely to be the only practical solution period, as I think Mike is going to find it hard to find a suitable soil that is high in clay content as has been suggested, while std topsoil is readily available.
Forget about buying it in bags. This is impractical and expensive. For any reasonable size job, you want it delivered by dump truck. Look in the yellow pages or local newspaper classifieds for screened topsoil.
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Here you go. http://landscaping.about.com/cs/lazylandscaping/ht/French_drains.htm
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