Ask The Inspector - Finish Grade

Home Inspector with National Property Inspections

Question: What is finish grade and why is it important?

Answer: Finish grade is the surface elevation of the ground. In home inspections it can be referred to as lot grading. The grade, or height, and slope of surface materials surrounding a structure is important because water from precipitation moves from areas of higher elevations to lower elevations on and off a property. A correctly-graded lot drains surface water away from structures to help prevent water damage.

Correct drainage is achieved in a number of ways. The ground can be sloped away from the home. Swales, or shallow ditches, can divert water around the house. Catch basins, sometimes located in the yard or at the bottom of a driveway that slopes toward the house, can collect water and divert it away. Features added into construction, such and drain tiles, gutters and downspouts help carry water off and around the structure.

Grade and slope are not the only factors to impact surface drainage on a site. The soil type, placement of trees and shrubs, location of impervious materials, such as concrete, climate and overall location of the home may affect the pattern of surface water drainage as well.

Your NPI inspector will consider surface grading as part of the exterior inspection of your property. For more information on the scope and benefits of an NPI commercial or residential property inspection, call or email us today.


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