How to Avoid Flooding in a Basement Walkout

How to Prevent a Flood in Your Basement

Hello, I’m Caleb with Dansie Design Build, and today we’re in Riverton, Utah. Today we will look at flooding in basement walkout entries, how to prevent a flood, and how to build your walkout correctly to avoid a flood. And then also this particular one we’re looking at today has been flooding a lot, and we’re going to pull this out and get it fixed so that it won’t flood anymore. 

Basement Walkout Entry

So the basement walkout entry is just here on the back of the house, and the stairway and the railing is this wooden railing system. And essentially, the first problem that I’ve got going on is that this concrete slopes downward toward the drain. So any rain that lands on there will be funneled into the stairway. There’s this break, which goes back up in elevation and slopes back toward the stairs. So that’s the first issue that we’ve got.

Temporary Fix to Avoid Basement Flooding

And then, as we go down the stairs, the drain they installed is a problem because there’s nowhere for the water to go. So basically, the remedy that they have created as a temporary fix to that is to plum in some of this PVC piping and install a pump down there that’s plugged in with this black electrical cord that comes up then is plugged into a light. So the current water remediation of draining this thing out is essential to turn the light switch on that controls this light fixture, which then goes down and will allow the pump to turn on if it detects water in the float.

So then from there, it pumps this up and then out to the outside of the walkout, and you can see the drain pours out into the lawn. So that’s how it’s set up to work an intermediate fix to the issue. So as we open this up, there’s this little grill here, and then down inside, they poured this concrete very thick, probably at least a foot thick. I don’t know how well you can see that there, but it goes down quite far.

Installing a Pump to Avoid Flooding

And then down at the bottom, there’s not any gravel; there’s just clay. And so the clay only lets the water absorb into the soil slowly. So as the water’s coming down from the stairs when it rains, just an average amount of rain here in Utah will not allow it to go into the soil fast enough at the percolation rate, and then the flooding will pile up. So that’s why they’ve got this pump installed. So most of the time, you do not need a pump, and as long as you build this correctly. So that’s basically what they’ve got going on here for the drain.

Controlling How Much Water Can Access the Basement

And then what we will end up doing is breaking out this concrete all around in here, the whole landing, and then the upper landing as well, so that we can control how much water comes in here and make sure that the most water possible is being deferred and directed away from the stairs, from the top of the stairs. And then any water that does land down here just from natural rainfall can go into this system. And we’ll dig this out, break out this concrete, dig it down three feet, fill it with gravel, and then put a five-gallon bucket as we do in our other projects. And then that will allow it to percolate into the soil sufficiently to minimize and really avoid all kinds of floods.

So the only way that you could get a flood is if the grill on the drain, like this grill here that we have if for whatever reason, was all covered with leaves or debris or something, and the drain was not letting the water go down anyway, that would create a flood.

Local Utah Climate

But otherwise, as long as you keep your walkout swept out, this is an excellent way to go. We have been fine with this way of building the drain systems in our local Utah climate and Salt Lake, Utah County areas; we don’t have any problems here. And the reason this system here is not working is it’s just not a long-term solution, because the drain, all these pipes and wires hanging out of the floor and going up the walls doesn’t work very well for foot traffic.


Also, the other issue that they’re having is that this keeps tripping whenever it gets wet. The GSCI trips the breaker, and then the pump doesn’t have power or run, so they get a flood anyway. So it’s always a stress and a burden and something that’s always ready to start flooding when you’re in the middle of the night, out of town, or something like that. So definitely something that needs to get taken care of here.

Contact Dansie Design Build

So if you were looking for help building a basement walkout entry, addressing the drain problems that you may have, or fixing your drain, also, if you’re looking to draw plans for a remodel or addition on your home, we can help you with that. You can contact us to schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to talk to you. Thanks, and have a great day. Bye.


Have you wondered what it costs to finish a basement in Salt Lake and Utah Counties?  Our basement finishing cost guide will give you everything you need to know.

  • Pricing for 1000 and 1500 square foot basement finishes
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, or open square footage
  • Pricing for Basic, Average, and Luxury Level Finishes
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • Real project costs for basements we have finished
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement




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Download our FREE basement finishing cost guide. Inside we go over everything you’ll want to know.

  • Pricing calculation for any sized basement
  • Pricing to include a bathroom, a kitchen, a laundry room, or open square footage
  • Basement walkout entrance pricing
  • How to avoid the most costly mistakes while finishing a basement