A House Should be Designed for the Lot

Summary: Keeping the water away from any house is the NUMBER 1 rule of stopping all water problems in any house.

Carl, We have a 3 bedroom side split house.

We have an outside walk-in to the basement at the back of house. You walk off the back patio past the kitchen window go down 5 steps, and on your left is the basement. There is a bathroom window above and to the left of the basement entry area

This basement entry area has an end wall and a side wall of cement with iron railing going around the edges.

In the bottom of the basement entry area is a drain for water.

This works great until we get a really hard rain that comes fast, sometimes the water can not get away fast enough and I have water in the recreation room.

We would like to put a roof over this walk-in but we are not sure how to go about this. We are looking for ideas.


Hi Carol,

I would guess you have been living with this problem since you moved into the house. The problem has probably existed since the house was built, as the problem basically, is a result of the builder and/or the developer not planning or designing the right house for the right lot.
Typical Split Level Home
A split level home (side split) should always be built so that any entry is above finished grade level. Having the lower level entry above grade is easiest to accomplish by building the one story level into the side of a hill. (See above) This is one of the reasons for the design of a split level, to accommodate hills.

So now, keeping the water away from your house has become your responsibility.

Keeping the water away from any house is the NUMBER 1 rule of stopping all water problems in any house.

I assume (it’s dangerous to assume) that you have taken care of (eliminated) water run off from roofs, sidewalks, and the back yard with (operational) gutters with extended downspouts, and grading the yard and walkways to drain away from the foundation.

Your idea for a roof may work if you have taken care of the above.

Ideally, you would want a roof that does not block out light yet can do the job.

Sounds like a job for a glass roof.

Contemporary Glass Roof Patio Cover Exterior
Courtesy of www.betterlivingpatios.com/
Here is an example I found. It’s not a split level home, but it looks like the owner may have had the same problem as you.
You can find other examples I’m sure, but you will probably have to have your roof custom made as this one was.

Perhaps a design similar to the shed roof over the front door in the 1st (top) photo above might work. (You might even be able to build one yourself).

Either way, you’ll have to design it with that bathroom window in mind. That shouldn’t be a big problem.

Good luck,
Carl Heldmann