A cracked foundation is right up there with termites, leaks, and mold when it comes to property problems that have the highest level of severity and expense. When you receive the bad news that you have a cracked foundation, the dollar signs start adding up in your mind and you know that you’re facing a serious issues. But it never has to get to this point. With proper precaution and maintenance you can protect your home’s foundation and keep it in good shape for the foreseeable future. While there’s not much you can do about settling soil and moisture levels, you can combat these known issues and find ways to treat minor foundation problems before they become major hassles. Here are some maintenance tips to get you started.
- Grade the yard. It’s surprising how many homes sit on lots where the structure is at the lowest elevation amidst the surrounding land. What this means, in practical terms, is that any water coming into your yard is going to run directly towards your home and your foundation, rather than away. This could spell disaster over time as your structure is subjected to extreme moisture and even standing water. The obvious solution is to grade your yard appropriately so that water is funneled away from your foundation.
- Install drainage. If you notice standing water in your yard or around the perimeter of your structure, it’s probably time to have an assessment done so that you can install proper drainage. This could mean adding, repairing, or replacing your gutters and downspouts or digging around the house in order to ensure that any water entering your yard drains completely to an off-site location in compliance with city codes.
- Check your plumbing annually. Water tends to run down, so if you have a leak in your home, the most probable place for water to culminate is at your foundation. This can lead to all kinds of unfortunate problems, and not just with the slab that supports your structure. For this reason it’s not a bad idea to have an overall plumbing inspection when you contract for other yearly service calls like flushing the water heater and snaking the drains.
- Monitor moisture levels. The biggest problem with moisture when it comes to your foundation is that you neither want the soil surrounding your foundation to be too wet nor too dry. And depending on the region you live in, you may have to deal with one or both issues throughout the year. Generally speaking, it’s better to avoid excess moisture around the foundation, so you’ll want to be careful when it comes to watering, as well as monitoring for dampness around the foundation. But if you’re worried about weather conditions being too dry and the soil shrinking away from your home (and reducing structural support), the best solution is simply to water your yard normally, rather than adding additional water that could backfire if it rains.
- Address minor cracks. Before you spend the time and money hiring a reputable company like Buckeye Basement Systems to finish your bottom floor, you’ll want to make sure your home foundation is stable and secure. And if there are any hairline fractures present, you need to fill them with epoxy and address whatever might be causing the cracks.