Prevent Foundation Damage with These Three Steps

Most homeowners don’t think about foundation damage – until they develop a crack, leak or settling, that is.

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Although most structural and settlement issues can be repaired, waiting until a serious problem develops can be a costly mistake. Save yourself the aggravation and expense involved with foundation repair by taking steps to prevent or avoid this damage from happening.

Prevent Foundation Damage by Grading Your Yard

Take a look at the soil around your home’s foundation. Does it slope away from your house? If the dirt isn’t properly angled, water won’t drain away properly. The results of standing water and residual moisture can eventually lead to foundation settlement and related problems.

To protect your home, your yard must be graded to slope downward at least 6 inches over 10 feet of soil.

You can use a contractor’s level to check the slope of your yard. Place one end of the tool where the soil meets your foundation wall. Then, holding it in a level position, measure the space between the end of the tool and the top of the soil.

Now, just do some math. Let’s say you used a 2-foot level and measured a 3-inch gap. To see what your slope is over 10 feet, you’ll need to multiply that 3-inch measurement by 5 (because 10 feet ÷ 2 feet = 5). So, your slope is 15 inches, which is sufficient, as it is steeper than the necessary 6-inch grade.

If your grade is less than 6 inches over 10 feet, however, you must re-grade to create the proper soil slope. A local landscaper or excavation contractor can assist you, if the job is larger than you feel comfortable handling yourself.

Maintain Your Downspouts to Prevent Foundation Damage

The right soil slope will help direct water away from your home and prevent foundation damage. But, without effective downspouts, rainwater running off your roof will cascade down onto the soil below, causing erosion and seeping into your basement or crawlspace.

Make sure that your downspouts are directed between 5 and 10 feet away from your house. If yours are not, install extenders or an underground downspout diverter to allow water to drain away from your foundation. And, of course, maintain all of your rain gutters free of debris to prevent blockages.

Avoid Foundation Damage by Keeping Soil at a Constant Moisture Level

Foundation damage is frequently the result of soil expansion and contraction. Consequently, if you can keep the soil around your home at a constant level of moisture, you can help avoid settlement and stress on your foundation walls.

Check to see if there is a gap between your foundation walls and the soil. No gap means your moisture level is good; however, if you see a gap, you gently add water to the soil around your foundation until the dirt expands and closes the gap.

To keep the moisture level constant and protect your foundation, add low-water-use native plant species around your home. Be careful, however, as any large root systems that grow too close to your house can cause foundation problems. Talk to your local nursery or landscape company for plant recommendations.

Atlas Piers serves homeowners throughout Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection and to learn more about how to prevent or repair foundation damage.

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