When your home’s foundation is damaged, repairing it can be an expensive and time-consuming job. It is often better to try to avoid such problems entirely by taking the time to care for your foundation. Often, a little forethought and preventative maintenance can help you ward off any trouble so that your foundation stays in good shape for many years.
The key to a healthy foundation is soil that is kept at a proper moisture level. When soil gets too dry, it starts to shrink and crack. When it gets too wet, it can swell and heave. In either case, this soil movement puts a lot of strain on your foundation, often leading to cracks and other forms of damage.
Left unattended, this damage can quickly become more severe, eventually requiring a complete replacement of your foundation. By taking the time to test and adjust the moisture level in your soil so that it remains in the proper range, you can reduce the stress on your foundation and extend its lifespan.
If the soil is starting to dry out around your home, watering it on a regular basis can help keep it at the proper moisture level. However, be careful not to water it too much. You do not want to solve one problem, just to cause a different one. In general, the amount of water needed to keep your lawn and other plants healthy is appropriate for your foundation as well.
In many areas, the problem is not too little water but too much. In such cases, ensuring proper drainage is key if you want to avoid soil swelling and other moisture-related issues. The ground around your home should be graded away from the foundation so that water will not collect next to it.
A slope of between 3 and 5 percent is recommended, and this slope should extend about 10 feet away from your home. After it rains, go outside and check to see if any puddles have formed next to your foundation. If so, this may be a sign that your soil is improperly graded.
It is also important to make sure that your gutters are up to the task of capturing all the rain that falls on your home. If they do not have enough capacity to handle this rain, it will pour straight down and collect near your foundation. You may need to replace your gutters, which, while an expensive job, is cheaper than having your foundation repaired or replaced.
Make sure that your downspouts are also long enough to carry the water away from your home. They should be at least 8 to 10 feet long. Shorter downspouts, or ones that are damaged, can result in water collecting near your home and weakening your foundation.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can avoid the need for expensive and difficult repairs. Use them to make sure that your foundation remains in good condition for many years to come.