January 2, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Foundation

Happy New Year! Now's the time when we make our resolutions and set some goals. While you're planning for 2012, are you taking your home into account?

If you haven't made any plans for your home yet, here are a few handy resolutions that include your foundation. These simple steps will help keep your home healthy and your foundation strong.

  • Clean your gutters often. It's such a simple step but it could end up saving you money that would need to be spent on foundation repair.

    Over flowing gutters will spill over and create puddling next to your foundation. That water has to go somewhere, and in this case that's next to your foundation. This can create hydrostatic pressure which will lead to a variety of foundation and waterproofing problems.
  • Extend your downspouts. You can consult with a professional or use materials purchased at your local hardware store. Either way, you'll want to extend your downspouts at least 6 feet away from your foundation. This will help keep water from puddling up next to your foundation and creating hydrostatic pressure.
  • Don't over-water landscaping that surrounds your foundation. If you have an automatic setting on your sprinklers make sure to turn it off when there's been a lot of rain. Or if you're getting ready to install sprinklers, keep them at least 6 feet away from your foundation.

    A good way to ensure that your landscaping will thrive without having to worry about watering is to install native plants. Not only are native plants used to your area's unique climate but they can help cut your water bill.
  • Take a look at your home's exterior quarterly. Keep an eye out for new cracks, breaks in mortar or bending/bowing walls. If you find any of these problems, call your trusted, local foundation repair contractor

All of these simple steps can help minimize foundation and waterproofing problems caused by water.

Water can be your foundation's #1 enemy; it can create hydrostatic pressure and problems with expansive soils. Hydrostatic pressure is caused by water pressing up against your foundation. Over time this pressure will create basement wall cracks, bowed walls or a leaky, wet basement

Expansive clay soils expand when wet and contract when dry. This soil type can experience dramatic changes when exposed to water. 

As the soil expands it presses up against your foundation, creating the same types of problems caused by hydrostatic pressure. And as the soil drys it shrinks, creating settlement problems.

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