The first step of basement waterproofing can be found on the roof. Gutters are intregal in keeping your basement dry. (Photo courtesy of Craig Ellerbrock)
Interestingly enough, waterproofing the basement begins at the top, on the roof. The main purpose of a home's gutter system is to redirect roof runoff so that the area around the foundation is not saturated by rainwater during a downpour. Homes with no rain gutters, or with inadequate or inoperable gutters, are at risk of being damaged by water.
Gutters must be sized large enough to handle the volume of water that will run down the roof during a rainstorm. Additionally, they should be installed on every roofline that is parallel to the ground, not just over windows and doors. It is important to ensure that the gutters are properly sloped towards a downspout during installation.
Because an average house roof can shed upwards of 2,000 gallons of water during a heavy downpour, buying oversized gutters is a smart choice. Of course, a properly guttered roof will still be inadequate if the guttering is full of leaves or debris. Therefore, the homeowner must be responsible for regular cleaning.
Moving down, the next order of business is the downspout system. The homeowner should not scrimp on downspouts. Downspouts should be adequately sized to handle the volume of the water in the rain gutter; there should also be enough of them for efficient rainwater removal.
The bottom of the downspout should divert the water away from the foundation of the home. Ideally, the water should be diverted between six and ten feet away from the home on a grade that slopes away from the house. In locations where a downspout cannot be installed, the use of splash blocks can help divert water away from the foundation.