How to Prevent Water from Damaging Your Foundation
How to Prevent Water from Damaging Your Foundation
The foundation of your home is an important structural element. Without a good foundation, your home will be in big trouble. The house could shift dramatically, causing damage to the building. Thus, proper maintenance of your home’s foundation is essential.
Water damage is the number one culprit that weakens your home’s foundation. It can damage your home’s foundation in a variety of ways such as:
- Pooling – Water pooling on the surface around the perimeter of the house eventually degrades concrete and mortar foundations. Causes of pooling include:
- Downspouts that are too short, which allow discharged water to flow back toward the house.
- Overflowing rain gutters that allow cascading water to the ground.
- Poor landscaping that may cause water to stagnate.
- Groundwater – This is where hydrostatic pressure pushes against the underside of the foundation. This causes water to infiltrate the basement through cracks and joints.
- External pressure – This occurs when loosely packed soil adjacent to the foundation absorbs a large volume of water.
With that in mind, here’s how to prevent water from damaging your foundation.
1. Utilize berms or swales.
If properly built, berms can greatly reduce storm runoff. Berms are raised areas of ground that encourage water to drain downward, away from your home.
Swales are drainage ditches. They help prevent the foundation from becoming wet. Like ditches, swales collect stormwater from roads, driveways, parking lots and other hard surfaces.
2. Install a French drain.
French drains provide an easy channel for water to flow through. The drain includes a perforated or slotted pipe that helps direct groundwater or surface water away from a certain area, such as your home’s foundation.
Before installing a French drain, there are many factors you should take into account. For example, the drain flow, drain pipe length, drain aggregate, and the drain depth.
To site a French drain, look for areas where water pools for long periods of time. For example, areas like a basement, on the outdoor patio, and in the backyard.
3. Make sure the flower beds around your foundation have borders with openings.
If you don’t do this, water may pool around your home’s foundation. On the other hand, if your flowerbeds have borders with openings, water can run out of the beds and down into the yard.
For the bushes and hedges near your foundation, allow for sufficient air flow between them. This way, you’ll prevent the soil from retaining moisture and enable water to evaporate more quickly.
4. Install gutters with downspout extensions.
Rain gutters are designed to pull water away from your foundation. They are critical to protecting your home’s structural integrity. Downspouts are designed to move water away from your home.
Without gutters and downspouts, rainwater will flow off to the edges of your roof and onto the ground around the perimeter of your home. Also, if the downspouts are short, they may fail to carry water far away. This may cause disaster.
To solve this issue, install gutters with downspout extensions. The following are ways to extend downspouts:
- Install a hinged elbow. Extending the downspout using a hinged elbow allows for better drainage and freedom of movement.
- Attach a roll-up sleeve. Roll-up sleeves are perfect for those areas that need to remain uncluttered. A roll-up sleeve placed at the end of your existing downspout will sufficiently extend it to allow for drainage away from the home.
- Use a splash block. Splash blocks help to direct the water onto the lawn and away from the house. If you end up using it, simply place it underneath the downspout.
- Use a drainage pipe. This is a DIY project that any homeowner can perform. Simply dig a trench, lay the pipe and backfill it with soil. Besides the drainage pipe, you’ll also need adapters, couplings, T-fittings, elbows and other PVC specialty fittings.
5. Make sure that your lawn is sloped away from your home’s foundation.
Does your lawn slope toward your home? If so, it’s a recipe for foundation damage. Adjust it!
A lawn with an improper slope can result in serious damage to your home’s foundation. Besides causing potentially expensive foundation problems, an improper slope can cause other issues. For example, this can cause damage to sidewalks.
To keep water away from your foundation, your yard should slope at least six inches over a 10-foot span. This should give you at least a 2% grade. This way, any excess rainwater will drain away from your foundation.
Preventing water damage is a lot cheaper than paying for repairs. If you follow these five tips, you’ll not only reduce maintenance costs but you’ll also add years to your home.
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