How to keep water away from house foundation

Updated February 21, 2017

Water that sits or falls alongside a foundation can create problems in the basement of a house. If you don't have gutters on roofs or the roof can't have gutters to catch rain water and drain it away from the house, you must use another technique to protect the immediate border along the foundation from water so the basement stays dry.

Cut down weeds and grass 3 feet out from the foundation. Build up the ground so it is higher at the foundation and slopes downward away from the foundation. Use the topsoil to do this but tamp it down so it is firm.

Cut a piece of heavy-duty plastic sheeting the length that you need and 3 feet 3 inches wide. Lay the plastic down on the soil with 3 inches up against the foundation. Use a broom to clean dirt and debris from the concrete foundation.

Fold the 3 inches of the plastic by the foundation over so the backside is visible. The plastic must be dry. Use a caulking gun to lay down a thick bead of caulk on the backside of the plastic as near the edge as possible.

Press the plastic sheeting onto the wall so the caulk adheres to the foundation. Push down firmly on the caulking bead so it spreads out and sticks.

Lay down 2 to 3 inches of decorative mulch to cover the plastic and hold it in place.


Instead of just having decorative mulch around the foundation all year, place potted plants in the mulch to add beauty and colour.

Things You'll Need

  • Topsoil
  • Heavy-duty black plastic sheeting (4 mil thick)
  • Decorative mulch
  • Caulk
  • Caulking gun
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Pamela Gardapee is a writer with more than seven years experience writing Web content. Being functional in finances, home projects and computers has allowed Gardapee to give her readers valuable information. She studied accounting, computers and writing before offering her tax, computer and writing services to others.