OK, I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a very important issue, just humor me please. While inspecting a new, mid-priced, semi-custom Drees home today I mentioned to the buyer that the gutter downspout splashblocks should be rotated 180° to properly drain the water away from the foundation thru the open end of the block. The builder’s rep, there for the inspection summary, quickly pointed out that I was wrong and that the blocks were installed correctly. A good natured lively discussion followed with the buyer finally telling the builder he believed me more than them. That part was good…but the builder’s rep and I agreed to attempt to prove the other wrong so that whichever one of us is wrong won’t continue advising incorrectly. A quick Google search shows several photos and sketches of how I think they should be but no wording to that effect. What do you say?

As installed As seen on several websites

You are right except when the ground is still loose with no grass they install them backwards to prevent erosion. When the grass gets established they should be rotated to flow away from the house. I always change them if the sod has been installed.

I believe you are 100% correct Mike. I’m always writing that one up. The only decent reason I’ve heard for turning them to where they catch the water is so it won’t erode away new sod.

If the splashblock is installed backwards, the water does not run away from the house–it’s directed **toward **the house where it can pool and cause damage to the foundation.

This is how I’ve always done them and for the same reason.

Mike, you are correct, the grass is established and they should be draining away from the home now. :wink:

I have met a local township inspector who insists that they be installed backwards for exactly the reason mentioned (erosion, puddling and damage at seams of sod).

I always tell my new homneowners to remember to rotate them 180 degrees once the sod or grass seed has taken root.

Thanks! Looks like I will be able to claim the high ground here but will give the builder’s rep a little credit for the loose dirt/new sod scenario.

Since splash blocks are rarely installed in this area, I would welcome them installed in either direction.

I have never written one up for being installed backwards.

What does the Texas SOP say about them, Mike?


Michael, you are incorrect in saying that this is not a critical issue. Water against the foundation/footer is a primary cause of structural damage. Infiltration of water into the crawlspace results in mold issues.

Installation of splash blocks can go either way. In the case of a strong positive grade away from the house, the splash blocks are installed backwards to slow down the water to prevent erosion and damage to the grass.

In the event of a flat or shallow grade, the splash block will obviously divert water back at the foundation which is not desirable.

Regardless of installation instructions, the end result is that water must flow away from the structure.

If you live in an area with expansive soil conditions, differential moisture at the corners of the house versus the center or interior of the crawlspace will cause excessive stress at the corners of the house and potentially cause structural damage. In this case splash blocks are not recommended at all.

David, I knew someone would take me to task for that introduction and probably rightfully so. I do know this is an important issue and that’s exactly why I comment on it in my reports. I also think it’s a even much more important issue when dealing with basement foundations or homes with crawlspaces. The vast majority of homes in my area are slab on grade and that was the case in my original post. The issue of water control is important for SOG as well so I do include that in my reports when appropriate. While I understand the issue of differential moisture I do have to say I don’t quite understand the last sentence of your last paragraph. It seems a little contradictory. I would think moisture control and moving water away from the foundation evenly all the way around the home would make more sense than not. Why would splashblocks not be recommended at all in that case?


with all due respect:mrgreen: …if i may add a few cents

as a basement waterpfg contractorn doing-the-job for nearly 3 decades i`d like to inform ya that splash blocks are basically nothing.

no way on THIS-planet that 1 or 100 splash blocks are going to keep water away from the entire depth & length of basement walls, not gonna happen.

let me ask ya, ok, so you go and make sure that any splash blocks are in place and the soil is sloped away from the house, where do ya think some of the water that one diverted a lil farther away from the bsmt walls is going to go?

its still gonna go INTO the soil, a lil further away and, accumulate and wick-percolate.....underground, in the soil, in all directions, sideways and down. its still going to come back towards the house, towards the bsmt wall, yes it will. How do i know this? :-k Because ive dug underground for a long long time, have seen all these types of situations, situations where homeowners have used/installed/tried EVERYTHING inclg raising the grade, mudjacking slab(s),very long downspout extensions,putting drain tiles and a lil gravel 1-2' deep, splashblocks etc etc. The basement still leaked,mold-efflorescence spread due to....a crack(s) or other openings into the home, this IS why most-not all basements leak-seep, notcuz the grade wasnt sloped/not cuz the dog knocked off the downspout extensionn so on.

and by the way, even if it were possible to…divert most-all water away from the house/foundation, which its NOT, that is not really a good idea.

allowing the soil around the house,bsmt walls,porches etc to become TOO DRY can cause the soil to contract too much, yeah lol, go the other route.

it`s always best to TRY…to keep the moisture in soil around a house the same level/content. And thats not possible on long-heavy rains. Best backfill to have around bsmt walls is peastone or if ya have to, sand. This is what keeps many bsmt walls from cracking,leaking,bowing in. http://www.yodergroup.com/concrete.asp 6th paragraph

allowing soil to contract too much could/can allow the soil under and next to footings to…settle/drop and could cause porches etc to drop/settle/fail as well.

and NO, im not saying to anyone not to have longer extensions etc....its just that, whoever recommends to a homeowner that any of these things will solve a leaky basement say, when the house is being sold is not an expert in bsmt waterproofing therefore shouldnt be recommending things that do not fix the actual problem…cracks-openings, above & below ground. see this ALL-the-time. House was sold, ‘somebody’ recommend and led seller to believe that all they had to do was raise grade,install longer extensions etc and within first few decent/longer rains, basement leaked again.

Now the buyer is stuck(or sues n goes back on seller) with having to FIX the problem, the crack or other openings. Yeah, the seller put on disclosure that they...ahem... 'fixed the problem' when they did not. New owner shouldnt have to get stuck havin` to pay for fixing leaks/cracks etc… that existed-was present before sale of house.

M Blues-- cold hearted orb that rules the night, removes the colors from our sight,
red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right…
and which is an illusion

John, I don’t have much time here because I have to get to work.

I don’t think we were discussing anything about “solving moisture intrusion problems into the crawlspace/basement”. We were discussing the associated affect of improperly oriented splash blocks. We are not trying to fix anything, we are discussing orientation and installation here.

I understand that you are a basement waterproofing contractor with plenty of experience in the real life. My degree covers a considerable amount of study in fluid dynamics I am quite aware of what fluids do in the soil. My associate is a geologist as well.His primary field of study is ground water cleanup and is fully aware of groundwater flow and how it affects fuel spills and other groundwater contamination.

My point is that moisture intrusion into a crawlspace is relative to an accumulative effect of numerous deficiencies of which soil grading, gutter installation and design,/block orientation etc. are part. No single condition is the sole cause or will be the final solution to anyone’s moisture intrusion problems.

Not taking care of the little issues, results in the big issues not going away or the necessity to install a complex and expensive waterproofing system.

The soil in our area contains considerable clay and diversion of rainwater striking the side of a house can be diverted by a considerable amount if a negative grade is not installed during construction (which occurs all the time around here). Obviously proper orientation of the splash block in an area with a more permeable soil will have less effect.

I was called in by a listing real estate agent because a very expensive waterproofing project was requested of her client as water was passing through a crawlspace. My evaluation revealed that a complex roof system was not adequately handling the water coming from the roof which struck the soil immediately adjacent to the foundation, pass under a deck and entered the crawlspace, passing to the other side of the house and exiting a positive drain system. My recommendation was to fix the gutter system first and then evaluate what further mediation was necessary. $10 worth of gutter work was neglected and thousands of dollars worth of drain systems were installed under the house. The source of the water was never addressed and to this day thousands of dollars worth of drain systems under the house is directing the water as intended. Why install a solution when you do not address the cause?

Anyway your point was well taken. Thanks!

I swear, we are the only nerds on the planet that can discourse at length about the merits of a couple square inches of cement.:cool:

Lets throw some bull rock down and call it a day. :wink:

Lets throw some bull rock down and call it a day. :wink:

You forgot, drink a beer and be over it!

Not to discount Mike’s question, but some of these answers confirm why my business continues to grow.

We are very proud of you Chuck and look forward to the times when you come back here to tout your self importance.