“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true when it comes to your home’s foundation. Proper maintenance can save you time and stress.
Without a good foundation, your home will be in big trouble. At worst, your home could come crumbling down.
Given its importance, proper maintenance of your home’s foundation is key. Foundation issues can be caused by a number of factors. For example, tree roots, expansive clay soil, plumbing leaks, drainage issues, and even poor pre-construction preparation.
Fixing a damaged foundation is often a costly process. According to HomeAdvisor, the typical homeowner pays between $2,350 and $6,396.
Stopping foundation problems in their tracks is important for any Dallas homeowner. The following are 10 tips to prevent home foundation problems.
10 Tips on how to Prevent Home Foundation Problem
A damaged foundation can cause a myriad of problems to your home, no doubt. Your floors could become uneven. The walls could cave in. Your roof could also bow. Eventually, your home could be rendered uninhabitable.
To help prevent this from happening, follow these tips:
1. Water Regularly
The purpose of watering a foundation is to keep the soil’s moisture consistent around and under the slab. This is especially important in areas with expansive soil conditions like Dallas, Texas.
During the dry season, the expansive clay soil loses water and contracts. Over time, this will cause your foundation to become unstable resulting in failure.
Installing a watering system helps prevent foundation problems. A timed sprinkler works best.
2. Implement Proper Drainage
Water is often the #1 cause of foundation damage. In the presence of too much water, expansive clay soil dramatically expands, putting pressure on the foundation.
Over time, you may notice that the slab has moved upward. At that point, you may have serious home foundation problems.
3. Ensure You Have Good Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are meant to funnel water several feet away from your foundation.
If this water isn’t directed away, it will pool near the foundation causing damage eventually. As such, you should regularly inspect them to ensure they are working as they should.
Ideally, the water should fall at least five feet away from your foundation. If it isn’t and the gutters and downspouts aren’t blocked, then consider installing extenders. Alternatively, you can also install a downspout diverter to redirect the water to a storm drain or another spot in the yard.
4. Implement Proper Grading
Proper yard grading is an important factor in keeping your home’s foundation safe. The right grading ensures that the water flows away from your home’s foundation and not towards it.
A good rule of thumb is to grade the terrain at least six inches for every ten feet. If this sort of grading is not possible, then consider installing a French drain. French drains provide an easy channel for water to flow through.
5. Keep Trees Away
Trees require water and nutrients to grow. During the dry season, trees can suck huge amounts of water from the ground leading to foundation issues. It’s for this reason that we recommend planting trees a safe distance from the foundation.
Generally speaking, tree branches shouldn’t be close enough to touch any part of your house. If they do, the tree is probably too close. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t plant trees within 10′ of your home.
6. Embed the Foundation
Embedding the foundation simply means keeping compacted soil around the foundation. This helps prevent the soil from losing excessive moisture, especially during the dry period.
7. Utilize Swales or Berms
Do you live in a flood-prone area? If so, installing berms can help protect against foundation erosion, run-off, and high water.
A swale is a shallow channel with a gently sloping side. Much like berms, swales help collect stormwater from parking lots, driveways, roads and other hard surfaces.
8. Keep Shrubs Short
There is no denying the fact that shrubbery around the house is a beautiful part of the landscape.
That said, you want to keep shrubs that are short. Preferably, at most they should be three feet tall. This helps keep the roots in check. Left unattended, roots can cause serious foundation damage.
They may suck all the moisture from the soil beneath your home’s foundation leaving it unstable.
9. Position Lawn Sprinklers Properly
Your beautiful landscape is a valuable asset. Lawn sprinklers help keep it that way. However, to avoid damaging the foundation of your home, it’s crucial that you position them correctly.
So, measure the water pressure and determine the sprinklers’ coverage. You also don’t want to waste any water and you can do this by positioning the sprinklers near a wall surface, or near your patio.
You also don’t want to forget to turn off the sprinklers during rainy days. The last thing you want is a pool of water forming near your home’s foundation.
10. Plan the Concrete Features Properly
Build the concrete features in a manner that directs water away from your home. Examples of concrete features include sidewalks, landscaping paths, and driveways. This helps prevent the water from pooling near your home.
In addition, be wise when planning new concrete features around your home. For instance, putting up a heavy structure on one side of your home and a watered garden on the other may create an imbalance.
While it’s often underappreciated, your home’s foundation is an important component of your house. It’s the load-bearing portion that supports everything above it.
There is no other place in the country that can claim more foundation issues than Texas. Soil erosion, changing temperatures, water, and extreme weather often lead to serious foundation problems.
Luckily, by following these 10 tips on how to prevent foundation problems in Texas, you’ll help safeguard the structural integrity of the foundation of your most prized possession.