The key to solving a leaking basement problem is to direct the water away from the house's foundation. Gutters can help a lot. Gutters catch rainwater and whisk it away through downspouts. If your house doesn't have gutters, consider having them installed. And this next step is critical: Attach horizontal drain extensions that are at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) long to the downspouts. These will direct the water away from the edge of the home's foundation and away from the basement [source: familyhandyman.com].
If you already have gutters, clean them. Gutters won't work if they're crammed with leaves and branches. Specifically, unclog the mess where the gutters meet the downspouts. If not, when it rains, the water can cascade like a mini Niagara Falls straight down to the edge of your foundation [source: Brasler].
Another way to direct water away from your home's foundation is to regrade the ground away from the foundation. This is more involved than simply adding gutters and downspouts, but it can help. The slope should be at least 6 feet (1.8-meters) wide, dropping down to about 4 inches (10 centimeters) away from the foundation. You can also cover the slope with plastic sheeting for added protection. Hide the sheeting with dirt and simply plant grass over it, or throw mulch or stone on top [source: familyhandyman.com]