Note: This is a guest post from Granite Foundation Repair, Texas
Homeownership can be very rewarding but it can also be a huge responsibility. One such responsibility is ensuring that your home’s foundation is strong.
However, since so much of the foundation remains hidden from view, overlooking it is often easy to do. Yet, it works tirelessly around the clock to support everything in your home.
Even still, many homeowners only pay attention when something goes wrong. Sadly, by that point, it’s too late for any preventative maintenance to work. The result – costly repairs!
The best way to avoid costly foundation problems is by doing preventive maintenance. You’ve probably heard this before; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s a cliché for a reason – because it’s true!
While repairing a damaged foundation can cost you thousands of dollars, foundation maintenance costs are minimal and often require little time and effort.
Jim Oursler of Granite Foundation Repair, a foundation repair company servicing DFW area, shared some tips to keep your home’s foundation well-maintained.
1.Do bi-annual foundation inspections.
By inspecting your foundation twice a year, you’ll be able to detect early warning signs of problems. Such problems include structural damage, pest infestation and water damage.
Foundation inspection doesn’t require any specialized tools. After all, it’s simply an inspection. All you need is a keen eye, a pen, and a pad of paper.
Here is a quick checklist to help walk you through what to look for in your foundation:
Look at the exterior
Check for shifting, sinking, or other changes, particularly around chimney and patio areas.
Check the basement walls and interior foundation
Look for patterns that indicate settlement issues. Are there any horizontal or zigzag pattern cracks that form along the mortar lines?
Check for cracks in walls and ceilings
Here, note the width, direction, and severity.
Look at the floor
Is it sloping evenly? If it’s not, it’s a sign of trouble. Call a professional foundation repair company immediately.
Inspect the windows and doors
Are they aligned properly? Does it still open and close properly? If not, your home could be experiencing settlement issues.
2.Conduct intelligent landscaping.
Plants can add beauty to your home, and they also keep the surrounding soil intact, helping to prevent landslides and erosion. But, if done wrong, poor landscaping can do more harm than good.
In areas with expansive clay soils like Texas, in particular, poor landscaping can cause soil shifting.
Plants require nutrients and water to survive. When planted too close to the foundation, these can take away too much water from the soil beneath, causing the soil to shrink.
To avert this problem, avoid planting trees or shrubs too close to your home’s foundation. Generally, plant shrubs at least half the distance of their mature spread from your home’s foundation.
For instance, for a 15 feet wide shrub, plant it at least 7 inches feet from your foundation.
3.Ensure that there is proper drainage.
Water damage is arguably the number 1 leading cause of foundation damage. Plumbing is usually the main culprit. Aquifers and rainwater are sometimes to blame.
Drainage issues usually cause soil shifting, causing your property’s foundation undue strain.
So, how do you safeguard your home against excessive dryness or moisture?
When the soil is too wet:
Check to ensure that gutters and downspouts are functioning properly. For expansive soil, ensure that these are redirecting water at least 3 yards away. For sandy soil, it’s at least two yards.
When the soil is too dry:
Invest in a good water control system. Garden hoses, for example, can help keep the moisture levels of the soil surrounding your foundation healthy.
4.Check your plumbing once every year.
Inspecting your plumbing can also be a crucial role in preventive maintenance. This is because plumbing problems are often the cause of foundation damage.
Leaks under the floors and behind the floors aren’t just bad for the foundation, these can also damage other parts of your home. Also, water bills will go up.
That’s why it pays to conduct annual plumbing checks.
Obvious signs of plumbing issues include low-faucet pressure, moldy walls, and pooling water. However, some leaks may be difficult to detect, at least without proper equipment.
To identify inconspicuous leaks, turn off all the water in your home. If you still notice the reading changing after 6 hours, call a plumbing expert immediately.
5.Fill minor foundation cracks.
Do you notice small cracks in your foundation? If so, have these filled up as soon as possible. If these are left unattended, it may worsen over time.
Besides filling them, inspect it over a couple of months. Does it seem to get larger? If so, have it inspected by a foundation repair expert.
Following these 5 proven maintenance tips can go a long way in protecting your home’s foundation and averting costly repairs.
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