Many foundation problems can be prevented. Yes, completely avoided. Simply by improving these things:
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – “Surely, it cannot be that easy. It must be more complicated than that. If it were that easy, then why wouldn’t we all be doing it?” The answer to that is simply that life gets in the way of doing all of the things we know we are supposed to do to maintain our properties.
I look at foundations all day, every day. And I’m embarrassed to say that I have some of these issues too. I had a large number of evergreen bushes along my front foundation wall removed four years ago because bagworms killed them all in a matter of months. The bushes were yanked out, but guess what remained? The roots. And guess what abandoned roots do over time? Yup, they deteriorate and shrink. Which means that the soil in front of my foundation has now settled and the grade is sloped straight toward my wall. Which means that I need to bring in lots of top soil to fill it back in and bring the grade back up. My back hurts just thinking about it. Luckily, I do not have foundation problems…yet. But I’m really taking a risk. Over time, that increased water pressure will rest up against my concrete wall and possibly move the wall inward. If that happens, my drywall and studs have to come down and the wall needs to be structurally stabilized. All of a sudden, bringing in more top soil sounds like a breeze compared to all of that.
Have I mentioned that I’m a structural engineer? Who specializes in damaged concrete? And I own a foundation repair company? And I preach the (GD)2 all day to my customers? And every time I tell someone to improve their grading around their house, I mentally remind myself to do the same.
So I get it – who has time to pay attention to these things when there are jobs to do and families to take care of? But trust me, doing some home maintenance will reap you benefits. And you will be thankful that you don’t have the level of structural damage and water leakage that your neighbors’ homes do.
Watch your home when it rains a lot – where is the water flowing? Are your gutters overflowing and dumping water right next to your foundation? Are your downspout pipes leading water away from your house? Is the soil surrounding your house sloping towards or away from your foundation? Do you have standing water in your yard?
Thank-you notes for the above public service announcement can be sent directly to our office. While you do that, I’m going to go order several yards of top soil and do some back stretches.
And if you didn’t read this in time and are already having foundation problems (or if you did everything right and are still having problems) – please call our office and schedule an estimate. We would be happy to evaluate your basement for any problems.