How To Prevent Long-Term Foundation Problems

Homeowners sometimes see foundation damage as something that is outside of their control. Foundations simply crack and fail sometimes, and there's nothing you can do about it, right? Well, not necessarily. While there is no way to completely guarantee your foundation will stay in perfect condition forever, there is a lot you can do to take better care of your foundation and reduce the risk of damage. Here are some ways to get started.

1. Keep your yard sloped properly.

When your home was built, the contractors should have sloped the land gently away from your house so that water drains away from the foundation. If you make any modifications to your landscaping, such as adding garden beds or planting new trees, make sure you maintain this slope. Before you have any major modifications made, such as if you dig a pond or build a shed, make sure you talk to the contractors about your yard's slope. Ensure they have a plan for maintaining the slope as they work.

2. Check your downspouts are angled properly.

Gutters are intended to direct water away from your house. If they do not work properly, water will run down along the edge of your foundation, causing it to slowly deteriorate over time. Make sure you clean your gutters twice a year to keep them flowing well and also keep an eye on your downspouts. Make sure they are directed away from your home so water runs far from your home. If you have short downspouts, you might need to get some extenders. These are plastic or metal attachments that you can add to the end of the downspout to ensure water travels further from the base of your home.

3. Keep drains clear.

From time to time, there might be a little water released in your basement by a leak in the plumbing or an overflowing washing machine. Such water can cause a lot of damage if it does not drain away quickly. So make sure you periodically check the floor drains in your basement. Clear any pet hair off of them, and do not place furniture or boxes over them. Pour a cup of water down the drain to ensure it flows freely, and contact a plumber for repairs if it does not.

4. Don't plant trees near your home.

Tree roots can cause damage to your foundation if they start pushing through the concrete in an effort to reach water. To keep your foundation in good shape, do not plant large trees any closer than 20 feet from the base of your home. Leave at least eight feet between your home and smaller tree, such as crabapples.

5. Leave a gap between mulch and your foundation.

If you have garden beds around the edge of your home, adding mulch to them can help boost the health of your plants. But mulch can spell trouble for your foundation if you stack it directly against the base of your home. It will trap moisture against the foundation, which could lead to cracks and crumbling. It may also invite insects like termites into your home.

Leave a gap between the mulch and your foundation. Four inches is enough in most cases.

6. Have your plumbing checked often.

Make sure you have a plumber come look over your pipes every year or two. This way, any small leaks won't go undetected to the point of causing moisture damage to your foundation. Leaks in the large pipes beneath your home can cause a lot of damage, in particular. Your plumber can detect these leaks by sending a camera down into the pipe.

With the tips above, you can keep your foundation in better shape and reduce the need for repairs. If your foundation does need repairs, contact a basement foundation repair service in your area today.