6 Tips for Preventing Home Foundation Problems

Homeowners who neglect home foundation problems can face severe and costly damages to their home. Foundation problems can be caused by a number of factors, including poor pre-construction soil preparation, drainage issues, plumbing leaks, clay shrinkage due to evaporation and/or tree roots withdrawing water from the soil.

To help prevent home foundation problems, Crosstown Engineering suggests six tips.

1. Timed Sprinkler & Foundation Watering Systems

Set up a timer on your foundation (soaker hose) and sprinkler system so that it waters every day at dusk and dawn for 30 minutes. Add extra watering times during the dry months!

2. Drain Water Away From The House

It’s important to avoid collecting near the foundation. The soil can expand dramatically and put stress on your foundation walls. In-ground drains can be installed to help move ponding water within depressions or areas that may retain water near the foundation to a discharge point elsewhere. Downspouts can direct rain and roof runoff away from your house as well.

3. Implement Proper Grading

Proper grading ensures water cannot directly reach the base of your house and foundation walls. A good rule of thumb is to grade (or slope) the terrain about 6 inches in 10 feet soil to slope away from your home.

4. Plant Tree & Shrub Roots Far From Your Home

During a dry season, tree and shrub roots will compete with soil for moisture. This can cause your foundation to settle unevenly and form cracks. It is wise for homeowners to plant trees far away from the house.

5. Maintain Moisture Levels

During dry periods, it is especially important to keep the foundation moist in order to avoid the soil from shrinking. Rock beds can be installed to help sprinkler systems water the deeper parts of the soil.

6. Embed The Foundation

Keeping a proper amount of compacted soil around the foundation can help the soils retain their moisture content during the dry months. Try to embed your foundation up to 2” from the top of the foundation slab (2” below the brickline). Mulch can also be used to help retain moisture.

Following these tips above can help alleviate future home foundation problems for your home. At Crosstown Engineering, we are able to conduct foundation inspections, pier plans, site plans and drainage designs. Our engineering consultants study all documentation, perform detailed on-site inquiries and provide observations, facts and conclusions to any foundation issues.

If you have questions about how to fix home foundation problems or finding a structural engineercontact the professionals at Crosstown Engineering today.

Photo Credit: Robin Zebrowski