Home Foundation Tips:
If you’re a homeowner, make sure you know the basics of your foundation to
prevent costly problems.
When it comes to foundation problems, water leakage is usually to blame. Water
that collects near a foundation can make the soil heavy and expanded, which
causes it to press on foundation walls and footings and create cracks. To avoid this
situation, it’s imperative to fix any drainage issues near your home as soon as you
notice them. Check for drainage issues in your gutters and downspouts, and ensure
the soil near your foundation is graded properly and drains well.
We recommend having your downspouts empty no less than five to 10 feet
away from your home. You should also check the grading near your home and
ensure your yard slopes at least six inches within 10 feet of your property. Sloping
soil will pull water away from your home, keeping it from ending up in your
basement or harming the foundation.
Be aware of plants and trees near your foundation—roots can suck moisture from
the soil and cause it to dry out too much, which can lead to settling, sinking and
the inability to handle heavy rains. Roots can also press against foundation walls,
causing them to crack and erode. To prevent this, avoid planting shrubs, trees and
other deep-rooted plants near your home. Since a tree’s root structure mimics the
above-ground structure of plants, you should be able to tell how wide a tree’s roots
span underground by noting how close the branches come to your house. If they
touch the walls or roof, the tree is too close to your foundation.
Cracks that are larger than a quarter-inch are a major concern, as are cracks that
run through multiple blocks. If you see cracks like these, you should request the
advice of a foundation contractor. You may be able to plug the cracks with epoxy
to stop leakage, but any structural issues could require major repairs.