Once constructed, a home’s foundation is usually forgotten about. We think about maintaining the siding and eavestroughs, but we rarely think about what any of this means for the foundation. A house’s foundation is fundamental even after construction.
So what’s the Best Way to Protect Your Home’s Foundation?
- Make sure your gutters are flowing
- Ensure the ground near the foundation slopes away from the house
- Keep the nearby foiliage trimmed
- Check the perimeter of your home for any issues
- Make sure your downspouts aren’t leaking
During construction, it is incredibly important to ensure that the foundation is put in perfectly because any mistakes or defects means that everything else in the house will be off. The base needs to be able to support the entire structure, going up. But the work isn’t done after the house has been built. Maintenance of your home’s foundation is critical for longevity and to avoid major problems.
First off, what exactly is the foundation? They can be built in many ways, with the most common way being made from poured concrete or concrete block, along with a poured concrete footing system. With the majority of North American homes being built this way, it’s one of the most inexpensive options and has the ability to be built quickly and efficiently.
The foundation of your home is what the entire structure sits on, and it determines the soundness and strength of your home. If a foundation is built in a shoddy way, you’ll notice problems all the way up to the roof, and this can happen if the foundation slab is even just a quarter of an inch off.
So how can you ensure this integral structure is maintained and protected? Here are some ways in which you can protect your home’s foundation.
One of the easiest and best ways to protect the foundation of your home is through your gutters. It might seem strange, but keeping your gutters clean will ensure your house’s foundation stays intact. Why? Gutters are fundamental when it comes to precipitation management. When working properly, gutters and eaves divert rainwater away from your home’s foundation.
Because of their function, it’s imperative to ensure your gutters are free from debris and blockages. There might be leaves, twigs, and small branches accumulated in them from the fall, and sometimes this muck breaks down into sludge that sticks and prevents water from flowing through. When the gutters are overflowing with water, instead of flowing away from the house, the water is sent straight over the edge, and down into the foundation line.
Additionally, in the cooler months, it’s important to ensure branches from trees are clear out of your home’s way, as you don’t want heavy snow or ice to cause breakages. Broken branches can fall onto your gutters and tear them down. In addition to keeping them free of debris, have your roofers check them for cracks, holes, and gaps. These can easily be missed, but cause bigger problems if left undealt with. Keeping your gutters well maintained is a much cheaper option than trying to repair foundational damage.
A commonly overlooked issue is sloping ground. Ground that slopes towards your house, rather than away from it, can cause water to rush towards your home’s foundation. The water will then seep in and can cause flooding in your basement and house. To prevent this from happening, you need to level your yard’s gradient. Adding dirt and soil to level out the whole ground area is one option, or you can build up the slope around your house so that there is a barrier and evenness.
Manage the Foliage
Managing the foliage around your home is another great way to protect your foundation. As mentioned above, gangly branches and thick twigs can overhang on your house, dropping their leaves and buds into your gutters. They can also fall onto your gutters, your roof, or your siding in storms , or when laden with ice and snow , causing intense structural damages.
Additionally, you’ll want to cut back plants or vines that grow against your home so that they don’t hinder the air circulation process and trap excess dampness against your home. Lastly, too many trees that are planted close to your foundation can be damaging in a different way. They can soak up moisture from the ground, which is needed for your foundation to prevent it from cracking. While too much moisture and water isn’t good, enough is needed to maintain the foundation’s integrity.
Some warning signs that something is wrong with your foundation include:
Cracks or Crumbling: If you take a walk around the perimeter of your home and you see any cracking or crumbling in the foundation, this should be a warning sign to you that all is not well. Not all cracks mean there is a major issue on hand, but it is a wise decision to have someone take a professional look at it to ensure there is nothing to worry about. If there is, you’ll have caught it before it becomes something major.
Water Damage: If your home has ever had water damage or if it currently had something like a flood or burst pipe, it might be time to ask a professional to do a quick assessment on the rest of your foundation. Your flood might have been small, but it can still lead to structural damage and mold growth.
Sagging Floors or Warped Ceilings: Sagging floors and warped ceilings can be signs of a damaged foundation. While they’re often due to water damage, it can also mean that something is wrong with your house’s foundation. Definitely have an assessment done if you see either of these problems occurring.
Protect your home’s foundation with these quick checks and maintenance tips. It’ll be the difference between a quick fix and a major project.