What is best way to drain water away from house and solve leaky basement problem.


On the west end of my small house in Cincinnati (the backyard), [I just recently bought the house, so I don't know its history] there is a small crest about 12 feet from the house that drains water toward the basement. (On the other side of the crest, the land slopes away from the house to a vacant lot.) Also, the backyard slopes from south to north, so there is a particularly low area at the Northwest corner of the house. That low corner is about 15 feet away from a spot where the water drains away from the house. On the Northeast corner of the house (the frontyard), there is a narrow slight slope from the corner down the driveway that drains all the way to the street. On the Southeast corner of the house (frontyard again), there is mostly a narrow slope generally towards the front that goes to the road, but there is a slight rise about 8 or 10 feet from the house. (M
There are two gutters that run parallel to each other. The gutter on the South side of the house runs West to East (back to front), and has a downspout in about the mid-point of the house that drains into a pipe that is located in a window well. There is also a downspout at the SouthEast corner of the house. The mid-point gutter is almost surely the cause of a leak in the basement because after a moderate rain a week ago (following a fairly long dry period), water came into the basement through the window in the window well that housed the downspout. I don't know where the pipe that services the downspout ultimately goes, but I would guess that it is supposed to drain into the front of the yard, and I would further guess that it was designed to go into a storm sewer drain that is probably located somewhere in the front yard.
The parallel North side gutter runs from East to West (front to back), and it has only 1 downspout that is at the corner (Northwest corner), and has pipe that was designed to go to the part of the backyard crest that slopes away from the house. However, the pipe doesn't currently properly drain because it was not properly sloped downward and because it does not reach the downward slope. Thus, during the last moderate rain, I got a small amount of leakage in the Northeast corner of the basement.
I should also add that the basement has a sump pump, which does not appear to be working well because the last moderate rainfall caused some leakage in the basement although the ground was still firm after the rain.
My basic question is should I attempt to divert the water away by doing simple grading and gutter repair or should I attempt to repair the weeping tiles that work with the sump pump or possibly should I attempt to install a french drain. Any tips on the best way to solve this problem would be appreciated -- right now, I am totally conflicted as to what is the best way to proceed.
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snipped-for-privacy@spamgourmet.com wrote:

Getting the grading right is always the first priority. Assuming you can do that, it's where I would start. Make sure grading slopes away from the house and all water from the downspouts is discharged at least 6 ft away, 10 is better.
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I understand the importance of grading, but the strategic question I have is if I am going to tear up the land around the house, whether I should possibly fix the pipes and the sump pump drains or whether I should just grade the land and hope that it takes care of the problems.
Thanks,
JD
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snipped-for-privacy@spamgourmet.com wrote:

97% of the time grading IS the one and only problem.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Mon, 07 Aug 2006 19:11:35 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

Should he use just ANY old dirt? Or is there a certain kind - maybe clay - that will do a more effective job?
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46erjoe wrote:

While I would lean towards clay, I would tend to think your question may vary depending on the local conditions.
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I wouldn't use clay within a couple feet of my walls. Actually a couple years ago when I rebuilt 1/2 my foundation I had 40 tons of backfill trucked in. It was a sandy mix with rocks in it. I called it 'creek-bed' - my brother-in-law, who has worked on construction sites more recently than I had another name for it. [maybe rubble-- at any rate it was what we called something completely different 30 yrs ago & 50 miles away]
Clay holds unbelievable amounts of water that you don't want near your foundation. As the base for a pond it might be good-- but I wouldn't introduce it to my landscape.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I believe you will find that clay does not hold the water, but rather forms a barrier. It is not what you want if you want the water to drain though it. However when you are grading away from your home, then clay is good as it tends to send the water down hill over the top of the clay and away from the home. You certainly don't want it if the grade is reversed, that would just push more water against the foundation.

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Joseph Meehan

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My home inspector also recommended a soil with high clay content to form a barrier. Currently the soil around my foundation is loose soil/rubble which will actually let water in *towards* the foundation! That is not what you want. Makes sense to me.
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snipped-for-privacy@spamgourmet.com wrote:

Each case it unique. Most of the time it is grading the fixes the problem and no more work is needed. Far too often several other options are tried first and fail.
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