4 Problems You Can Have With Your Home's Foundation

Posted on: 30 January 2015

By the time you have leaks or cracks in your foundation, it means you've already had an unaddressed problem that has caused this damage. This is why it's so important to keep an eye out for things that might damage your foundation and to deal with them before you have major issues. Below are four things that can easily damage a home's foundation.

Grading Mistakes

If the soil around your home was improperly graded when your home was constructed, it could allow water to flow toward your home's foundation, rather than away from it. This is why it's important to make sure that for every 10 feet away from your home the ground drop 6 inches or more. To check the slope around your home, use a 2 foot level. Position one end of the level where your foundation and the ground meet and then level the tool. Measure the gap between the ground surface and the other end of the level. Multiply your results by five. This gives you the slope of your ground.

Note: The reason why 10 feet is an excellent benchmark is that this is usually sufficient to move the water away from your home even if your land starts sloping back upward beyond that point. Also keep in mind that if you add any kind of mulch for your foundation plants, this mulch needs to slope away too.

Downspout Problems

The downspouts on your home are supposed to direct any water pouring off your roof well away from your home's foundation. However, if you don't have extenders that carry this water at least 5 feet away from your home, the water will drop right onto the foundation. These foundation extenders are relatively inexpensive, and are well worth the investment. Alternatively, you can install an underground downspout diverter so you can drain the water away to a storm drain or curb.

Drought Issues

Surprisingly, a lack of water can also damage your home's foundations. This is why you need to make sure that during a drought you don't allow the soil around your home to completely dry out. Otherwise, it could start to shrink. Then when you finally have a big rain, this could put undue stress on the foundation. To avoid this, position a soaker hose all around your home (at least 6 inches away and buried 3 inches below the soil). Operate this whenever there are extreme drought conditions.

Root Damage

During a drought, shrubs and trees can extract moisture from the soil, which can cause your home's foundation to settle unevenly. The result can be cracks in your drywall and jammed doors and windows. This is why it's a good idea to make sure that any deep-rooted shrubs or trees are planted well away from your home. A good yardstick for determining how far away they should be is by measuring their branch spread. If the branches of the plant can touch the house or overhang it, the plant is too close and needs to be removed.

Talk to a professional like Reynolds Construction for more information.