A foundation, by definition, is the basis or groundwork of anything. Whether it’s a skyscraper or math skills, if you don’t have a solid foundation, the rest will eventually crumble. Nothing, including your home, will last for long with a shoddy or damaged foundation. Additionally, even well-designed foundations are at risk if not cared for. Your home is only as sound as your foundation, so house foundation protection is one of the best investments you can possibly make. Here are some tips on protecting your home’s foundation.
Keeping water out of your house is a priority for every homeowner. Unlike foundation cracks or other damage, most homeowners aren’t surprised to learn their basement windows are a major risk factor for water intrusion. Waterproofing window wells and the windows inside of them is an important step toward keeping your basement safe from the weather.
Performing your own rain gutter repair is often a lot easier than you expect, even for novice DIYers. Find out the most common gutter and downspout problems and how to fix them from EverDry Toledo!
Common Gutter Problems & Solutions
Clogged & Obstructed Gutters
One of the most common problems with rain gutters is clogging. Over time, debris builds up in your gutters and prevents water from flowing properly. In severe cases, it can even dam the flow of water completely, which puts your roof at risk for damage.
How to Repair It: While clogged rain gutters are common, they are fortunately easy to fix. Depending on the size of your house, all you may need is a ladder and a pair of gloves. Simply go around each section of the gutter, removing debris and inspecting it for possible damage.
Most homeowners will only need to do this about once per year, and spring is one of the best times to do it – not to mention some other important outdoor maintenance. However, if your house is surrounded by one or more trees, you may want to consider cleaning you gutters a few times each year. The more trees that can drop leaves or branches into the gutters, the quicker the buildup can hit critical mass.
It may also be worth investing in a gutter guard that helps prevent debris from entering your gutter in the first place. This doesn’t mean you never have to clean your gutters again, but it can help keep them flowing better between cleanings.
Leaks, Holes, or Deterioration
Your gutter is made up of multiple sections that are sealed or connected with gutter joints. Over time, no matter how they are joined together, the connection will deteriorate. Even well maintained gutters can sometimes suffer physical damage that opens holes or gaps. This results in leaking that drops water right against your siding or foundation.
How to Repair It: There are two ways to fix a leaky gutter. If the leak is coming from a tiny hole, such as one the size of a nail head, all you need is a little caulk. Silicone or gutter caulk can seal the leak without any additional help. Just make sure the gutter is free of any debris before you begin.
If the leak is much larger, you may need to use metal flashing to patch your gutter. Many home improvement stores sell gutter patch kits. Even if you can’t find a kit, you can create a patch by using tin snips to cut out metal flashing and using sealant to glue it in place.
Downspout Draining Too Close to House
A perfectly functional gutter system can be ruined by a downspout draining improperly. It’s important to make sure that the end of the downspout is taking the water an appropriate distance away. If it’s not, all the water caught and flushed away by the gutters will come right back.
Drainage plays a significant factor in the health of your home’s foundation
Types of Soil
Soil shifts and moves over time often as a result of how it handles moisture and the climate — including the freeze / thaw cycle. As soil shifts, it changes the support around your foundation, which can lead to cracks. And it’s those cracks that can allow in moisture and maybe even some pests.
Each type of soil is comprised of different properties that have various effects on the bedrock of a home. Soil with good structure is going to be more stable. The way in which soil handles wetting and drying cycles is also an important consideration, as expanding soil can put unwanted pressure on foundations and soil that retains too much moisture can cause the foundation to weaken.
Here are the most common types of soil and how they measure up:
Peat: Usually dark in color, peat is easily compactable because it holds a great deal of water, which makes it prone to shifting. This is not ideal soil for a foundation.
Clay: Because it’s made up of tiny particles, clay shrinks significantly when dry and expands when it’s moist. The extreme changes can put pressure on the foundation, which opens the door to potential cracks.
Silt: Usually smooth to the touch, this type of soil tends to retain water longer and drains poorly. This can push against and weaken foundations when wet.
Sand / Gravel: A better choice than peat, clay or silt, sand / gravel drains easily and does not retain moisture because it’s made up of larger particles. However, when wet, these particles can be washed away leaving gaps around the foundation.
Loam: Typically, a combination of sand, silt and clay, loam is an ideal soil type for supporting foundations, as it is able to maintain water at a balanced rate.
Rock: The strength and stability of rock makes it a great choice for foundations. However, it can be difficult to dig into, and homeowners should be sure the rock is level before constructing the foundation.
Improving Drainage Around Your House
Whether your home is resting on stable or not-so-stable soil, water drainage is an important part of maintaining the life of a foundation. Poor drainage can cause problems like water in the basement or structural damage, while proper surface drainage can lead moisture away from your home ultimately protecting the precious foundation. Here are some things you can do to ensure better drainage.
Roof gutters and downspouts: Gutters should be kept free of debris and direct water to downspouts that carry it away from the foundation. Be sure they’re draining at least six feet away from the home — downspout extensions can help!
Sufficient grading: Check to see if dirt is graded away from the home. Housing codes have various requirements, but it’s helpful if the ground slopes away from the foundation for a distance of eight feet or more.
Basement windows: Sometimes debris and water can collect near basement windows, so be sure to provide adequate drainage to the foundation drain.
Sump pumps remove excess water from around your basement and are best for minor amounts of groundwater. Ensure your sump pump is in good, working condition and consider a battery back-up.
Install foundation drains: This repair consists of removing portions of existing basement slab, installing new drains directing water to a sump pump and then installing new slab. Learn more about basement waterproofing options from EverDry Toledo.
Schedule a Free 20-Point Inspection
If you have questions about your foundation or would like to schedule an inspection to ensure the base of your home is in good shape, EverDry Toledo can help with a FREE 20-point basement inspection! We’ll help you pinpoint the source of the moisture problem. If it’s foundation-related, our waterproofing solutions can make your basement dry, healthy, and comfortable.
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