No homeowner wants the literal building blocks of their life to begin to crack. Your home’s stability, safety, and security rely on the foundation to be structurally sound. It is an integral part that does not affect comfort or aesthetics. The aim is to inform homeowners of small steps they can make throughout their lifetime to ensure the roof over their heads doesn’t come crumbling down.
When walls crumble, and cracks invite deformations, it is already too late. Be proactive, not reactive.
Water is the natural element that all the preventative measures revolve around. Keeping water away from your walls and structure is the key to an expanded lifespan and less costly repairs.
Drain Water Away from Your House
The simplest form of foundation protection is harnessing gravity to spread water outwards away from the foundation.
By grading gaffes, one can ensure the surrounding soil to your walls is sloped; gravity does all the work to keep water at bay. Contracting experts suggest a height of 6 inches across 10 feet of soil. This can be measured with string or a level by measuring height at the foundation’s base and the end of the soil base.
Another easy solution can be a French drain system. Excess water enters the pipes at the high end, and utilizing a minor, graded slope; French drains can redirect extra drainage to a specific desired exit. Preferably not your neighbors’ yard. An attractive feature of French drains is that they require a slope of no less than 1%.
Timed Sprinkler System
As the warmth of the sun heats the soil, it shrinks and contracts. When soil absorbs the water, it does the opposite and expands. This constant process of contracting can stress the foundation and make the walls weak and unstable. A proactive approach would be to ensure continuous water to soil ratio through the use of timed sprinkler systems.
A controlled timer that would water for approximately 30 minutes in the morning and evening would create a balance in the structure’s soil. Additionally, a rock bed can be installed, which would help the system penetrate the soil at deeper levels. Experts suggest extra watering during drier months of the year, where contracting and expanding can be more extreme.
During the year’s rainy seasons, having cluttered gutters can affect the amount of moisture absorbed into the foundation. Diverting runoff water from the roof is critical to maintaining a healthy structure. Keeping them cleared of leaves and dirt, and making sure they are structurally sound and attached to the foundation’s walls. Extenders are an excellent way of going a step further. Though obvious and sometimes an arduous process for many homeowners, it is a crucial reason for moisture leaking through roofs.
Correct Sprinkler Positioning
There’s nothing we can do about rain crashing upon the foundation short of the point mentioned above. When watering the luscious green garden, what can be controlled is to ensure the foundation isn’t being watered too. Notably, it is also suggested to turn off the sprinkler system during rainy days.
Keep Clear of Mother Nature
Root plants do not care for our man-made creations. They are immensely powerful, and though they do not seem, it, through the years, can sprout roots that will cause severe damage to the integrity of the foundation. Dry seasons can expedite this process as trees and plants compete against the soil for water. This can cause an imbalance in the ground, causing the structure to settle improperly and reveal cracks.
It is not uncommon for large trees to grow powerful roots that displace soil in the surrounding area and penetrate the structure itself. Hence plant any trees far enough so that no branches are close enough to touch the house. However, there are still homeowners that wish to have plants and flowerbeds closer by. These should be plants with minimal watering requirements that can be planted in a ground-level flower bed.
Correct Concrete Planning
When it comes to planning the foundation’s construction, it is essential to keep drainage in mind. Driveways, landscaping paths, sidewalks, all concrete elements that need to be designed in a manner that ensures water drainage is directed away from your foundation. Contractors also suggest maintaining a balance in where watered gardens are in relation to the rest of the concrete structure.
Plumbing problems do commonly occur and can be a contributing factor to weakening the integrity of a structure. Checking the water-meter level is typically a clear indicator of whether there is a leak or not.
Accurate Foundation Design
When the increase and decrease of the soil’s stability begin to form, weakness in the foundation can occur. Support piers can be installed as a preventative measure; however, this can prevent a house from setting correctly. It is not suggested, for instance, for the foundation to be constructed upon clay, silt, or peat.
Rock is an excellent support soil as it provides both depth and stability. Gravel or sand is also ideal as it does not retain moisture and will glue together if correctly compacted. It is heavily suggested that compacted soil be embedded at a minimum of 2″ below the brick line.
Indications of structural damage
- Wilting floors
- Shifting beams
- Cracking door frames
- Damp crawl spaces
- Mould & Mildew
Though the above mentioned are all great preventative measures, it is important to understand that cracks and foundational issues can still arise. These should be fixed without delay as small cracks can expand into bigger ones quite quickly. It is easy to ignore the little noticeable problems; however, moisture can be extremely destructive, and cracks give way for it to be embedded within the foundation and walls. What is initially seen as small can become quite damaging and costly. It is always recommended that if issues are discovered that a foundation repair expert is contacted immediately.