As a homeowner, you know that one of the biggest problems any property owner can face is a cracked foundation. The foundation is the basis of your home, what the entire structure is built on and it relies on even, solid ground to work properly. When moisture leaves the soil and returns unevenly, the foundation can shift, crack, and begin to split the house with conflicting forces. Fortunately, you can learn to keep your home and family safe from these problems by learning how to properly maintain your foundation and watch out for early signs of trouble.
1) Keep the Ground Moist
The vast majority of foundation cracks have occurred during a drought when clay-rich soil dries out and contracts. The problem is that not all the soil contracts in the same direction and as some pulls one way and some pulls another, the foundation is incredibly heavy and stuck in the middle. The uneven ground can cause a crack which turns into all the foundation trouble you’ve heard about as horror stories. The best way to keep this from happening is to simply keep the ground beneath your home sufficiently moist.
2) Monitor and Manage Drainage
The other issue is that you don’t want your yard to become too sopping and soft either. This means that while you need moist earthy, you also need to control any drainage around the home. Make a plan to ensure that water flows away from your house and keep an eye on standing water or drought in the yard.
3) Repair Known Plumbing Issues
Plumbing issues always have to do with moisture which means it can relate directly to your foundation. The biggest kind of problem for the foundation is a leak that releases water into the ground, potentially softening it past optimal moistness. Get your plumbing issues fixed so they cannot interfere with your foundation management.
4) Watch Out for Tree Roots
Trees are a beautiful addition to any yard but it’s important to understand that their roots are almost as big as the branches and go impossibly deep. Of course, they don’t have to go straight down. If you notice tree roots inching their way closer to your foundation, drastic measures may be necessary.
5) Don’t Plant Too Close
Speaking of roots, if you’re going to plant anything sturdy like a bush or a shrub in the flower beds along the base of your home, make sure that everything planted is at least two feet away from the edge of the foundation. This will ensure that both roots and drainage from watering go where they’re supposed to.
6) Yard Goes Downhill from House
You never ever want your house at the bottom of a hill. Not in a neighborhood and not as a feature of your own yard. Do whatever is necessary to ensure that your home is at the top of a gentle slope outward toward the fences with the entire yard acting as a drainage channel. You can install french drains and subtle yard drainage to avoid any sogginess.
7) Thermostat and Vacations
You might be surprised how much temperature can affect your foundation, particularly temperature inside your home. When you go on vacation, don’t just turn off the thermostat, as this can allow extreme temp changes. Instead, leave it on a low setting that will ensure that the home doesn’t go above 100 F or below 40 F.
8) Look for Cracks and Bowing
Check your foundation constantly and keep an eye on your walls and floors. If you see signs of cracking, seek professional help immediately as this is your best change to reverse the damage and prevent further foundation displacement. The sooner you catch foundation issues, the easier they are to fix. If you start to see major cracks or wall bowing, you already have a serious problem.
9) Low Flower Beds
Many people enjoy raised flower beds, that is flower beds that stick out from the yard. While this may be lovely, it’s important that your flower beds are not taller than the foundation and should, in fact, be artfully sloped away from the house to add to the yard’s ability to drain excess water away.
10) Professional Consultation
Finally, if you notice anything suspicious about your foundation or just want a clear picture of your real risk for this kind of worry, don’t hesitate to get a professional inspection. They will not only be able to tell you if your foundation is currently in good shape, they can also give you a few clues for best prevention measures in your region.
No homeowner wants to deal with the hassle and expense of a cracked foundation and with the right maintenance steps, hopefully, you won’t have to. Keep an eye on your home, yard, and foundation. If you see signs of damage or just want a professional opinion, contact us today!