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5 Things Homeowners Can Do to Prevent Foundation Damage

There is no doubt that foundation damage is a major problem for homeowners. Foundation damage is a prime cause of cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings. In addition, foundation problems can result in stuck doors and windows, and severe foundation damage can threaten the structural integrity of a home.

That is why homeowners should take every step possible to prevent foundation damage from occurring. Fortunately, there are several things homeowners can do that will help keep foundation problems at bay, including the following five action items.

Repair or Install Rain Gutters

One of the most important means of preventing foundation damage is through the use of functioning rain gutters. Rain gutters prevent rain or melting snow from pouring onto the ground next to the foundation and redirect it to a safe location.

If you don’t have rain gutters, the first step is to get them installed. Be sure to select a qualified gutter installer to perform the work, as poorly installed rain gutters can leak or even collapse and damage your home.

If you do have gutters, then you need to have them inspected and repaired, if necessary, to enable proper functioning. Rain gutters need to be aligned with a very slight slope toward downspouts, for example. In addition, you should have a sufficient number of downspouts for each length of gutter channel, and gutters should be cleaned to permit water to flow freely.

Direct Downspout Discharge Away From House

Many people have rain gutters in good working order, but those same homeowners jeopardize their foundation by failing to direct the downspout discharge away from the home. Downspouts that permit water to drop straight down into the soil next to the home can create uneven moisture conditions around the foundation. Inconsistent moisture levels, particularly in clay soils, can cause the surrounding foundation to shift and fracture.

That is why it is important for homeowners to ensure their gutter downspouts are fitted with the correct terminating pieces. Water should flow several feet away from the foundation and be distributed onto the lawn in an area where it won’t cause erosion.

Alternatively, homeowners can install buried drain pipes that collect water from downspouts and direct it to off-site locations. This method can be useful if the water can be repurposed or would cause erosion if permitted to drain directly from the downspout.

Build Up Ground to Slope Away From House

Standing water is dangerous to a home’s foundation, so homeowners should strive to keep the soil welldrained within several feet of the foundation. If the soil slopes toward the home, water is more likely to pool around the base of the foundation.

To compensate for an inward slope, homeowners should fill low spots next to the foundation with soil until a small crown is formed. Grass should be established on the newly added soil to help control erosion and absorb moisture.

Keep Tree Roots Away From the Foundation

Homeowners should remove anything that creates uneven moisture levels around a foundation. One significant threat comes from tree roots since they are able to absorb great quantities of water from the soil.

To prevent potential problems from tree roots, homeowners should avoid planting trees close to foundations. If an existing tree is close to your home, then consider having it removed before foundation damage occurs.

Stay Alert for Plumbing Leaks

Another potential cause of foundation damage is leaks in plumbing. Plumbing leaks can cause water to be discharged in one area beneath or near the slab, thus leading to inconsistent moisture levels in the soil.

It is important to be alert for possible leaks since they aren’t always readily apparent to homeowners. However, there are clues that indicate that a leak may be present, including a distant sound of water running as well as consistently muddy soil near the foundation. If a leak is found, then it must be promptly repaired to prevent damage to the foundation.

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