The foundation is arguably one of the most important parts of a home.
It supports your entire house, as well as everyone and everything in it.
And, without a healthy foundation, your home may be at risk of collapsing.
You can also start to experience structural failure like cracks on your walls and some of your doors and windows may stop closing properly.
When the signs start to appear, your place of comfort becomes a safety hazard.
That’s why it’s critical to ensure that your foundation is always strong and healthy.
But how can you do that? What signs should you look out for?
Well, this post covers need-to-know points about your foundation to keep it, and your home, healthy and happy at all times.
Your Foundation’s Main Purposes
Why do you need a healthy foundation? What does it do?
To get a clear understanding of how to keep your foundation healthy, it’s important to put everything in perspective.
Here are a few ways your foundation keeps your home safe and strong:
1. Structural Support for Your Home
On average, houses weigh between 40 and 80 tons (without the foundation).
It’s about seven times as heavy as a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Your foundation is responsible for bearing all of your that weight.
But that also means that if your foundation suffers damages or starts to deteriorate, your home’s structural integrity is disintegrating too.
And that’s not good because your house can fall apart due to the uneven distribution of weight or the formation/growth of cracks on your walls.
That’s why having a level, strong, and a healthy foundation is important if your home is to remain standing strong.
2. Protection against Tree Roots and Foliage
It’s only natural for tree roots to spread out.
That’s why it’s never a good idea to plant trees too close to your home.
Luckily, slab foundations are often strong enough to withstand these invasive roots. It offers you a bit of protection against invaders.
3. Shield against Earth Movements
Did you know that the earth beneath your home shifts once in a while?
Earth movement can be as a result of a number of factors including the weather and the type of soil.
Fortunately, your foundation protects your home against damages resulting from earth movements.
That’s because it acts as a barrier between your house and the ground beneath it.
Even during rapid earth movements, your home will remain intact and safe thanks to your home’s healthy foundation.
4. Protection against Other Elements
There are a lot of elements that can adversely damage your home.
Generally, exposure to a lot of water from flooding or invasive foliage can cause cracks and other structural issues.
Your foundation protects your home from these issues. However, prolonged exposure to water, moisture, and foliage may weaken your foundation.
When that happens, your home will start to deteriorate quickly with the most common symptoms being:
- Peeling paint at the base of your walls
- The formation of cracks
- Bits of the wall breaking off
- Door closing/opening problems
- Uncomfortable sloping and so on
For this reason, it’s always wise to make sure that your drainage system is running efficiently, plumbing leaks are fixed promptly, and that you plant your garden away from the house.
With all that in mind, the next step would be to learn how to examine your foundation for faults.
How to Check If Your Foundation is Healthy
Knowing how to check your foundation for faults is always the first step towards keeping it healthy.
That’s because you’ll be able to spot and fix foundation issues early before they worsen.
If you spot any issues that are listed below, the next step would be to hire a professional to carry out a thorough inspection of your home’s foundation.
Early detection and repair are important because foundation problems are never easy to fix.
The longer your foundation stays damaged, the costlier it will be to repair.
What signs of damage do you need to be wary of?
Here are a few things you can do to examine your foundation’s health:
1. Check your drainage system.
Water is one of the leading causes of foundation damage.
It’s true that water helps to keep your foundation healthy during dry seasons, but too much of it can be harmful to your foundation and walls.
Excessive water not only weakens the structure, but it also causes earth movements. That’s why it’s very important to ensure that your foundation is shielded from water damage.
Here are the things you can to do to protect your foundation from this damage:
- Make sure your downspouts expel water away from the base of your home.
- Unclog your gutters and drainage systems.
- Remove any pools of water that may form around your home, and re-grade those areas.
These tasks not only make it easy for you to control your home’s moisture levels but they also to keep your foundation healthy.
2. Look for crack formation.
The presence of cracks on your walls and foundation can be a clear indicator of foundation failure.
In this case, you need to hire a professional foundation inspector immediately so that they can examine the cause and extent of the cracks.
Now, the reason why getting a professional evaluation of your foundation is necessary because you may not know the cracks’ severity.
Sometimes, the cracks are normal, harmless, and are just the result of the settling of your home.
But only a professional inspector can tell you whether or not a crack is damaging.
3. Check the plants and trees around your home.
Lastly, ensure that plant and tree roots aren’t damaging your foundation.
Plant trees and bushes away from the base of your home.
If you don’t have enough space or would prefer planting close to your home (for aesthetic reasons), plant foliage with smaller and non-invasive roots. And install a root barrier.
However, if you notice any faults or indicators of impending damage, contact a foundation inspector immediately.
They’ll tell you what you need to do to prevent further damage.
That will save you from costly foundation repairs in the future.