Many of us don’t really give much thought to our home’s foundation until there is a problem that becomes apparent. However, there are several simple things we can do as preventative measures to help ward off some foundation concerns before they occur.
Keep gutters clean– Make sure to clean your homes gutters regularly, in addition to keeping tree limbs trimmed back from the roof line. Leaves, twigs and debris can often times clog the gutters impeding them from doing their intended job, which is directing water to the downspouts for proper drainage. This can cause water overflow in areas which then allows the water to puddle/settle around your foundation where it may not be able to accommodate this excess water. If gutters have been cleaned and are still overflowing you may want to consider overflow diverters that will help to direct water flow during heavier rainfalls.
Keep downspouts clean- Downspouts are designed to direct the water collected by the gutters away from your foundation for proper drainage. Clogged downspouts and build up of debris can cause a backup or overflow of the gutters, again impeding the appropriate drainage, potentially allowing for water to puddle around the foundation in areas not designed to appropriately absorb excess water.
Clean any Drains/Drainage pipes– Make sure any drainage pipes/drains are kept clean and clear of debris and yard waste. Keep in mind that if water is unable to drain through the intended drainage system it will find another route, potentially leading to erosion and unstable soil as well as the potential of making its way toward your homes foundation.
Appropriate Spacing between ground soil/landscaping and your home’s facade– There should be at least 6″- 8″ of foundation visible between the soil surrounding your foundation and the start of your homes siding or brick. Anything less than this can contribute to potential foundation failures by allowing water to infiltrate your homes siding/brick and/or basement.
Good slope/grading of yard- Water should run away from your foundation not puddle along side it. If you have a negative grade to your yard or it slopes toward your home, this may be something to consider modifying. All yards should slope away from homes 6″ within the first 10′ of the house. Anything different than this can lead to conditions contributing to water permeation of the home or even foundation failure.
If you have concerns about whether the slope of your yard is sufficient, whether the grading seems appropriate, or if you have general foundation concerns, it is always best to consult with a licensed structural engineer before moving forward on any foundation related project. This will enable you as the home owner to know what exactly you need for repairs and the best method of doing so for your unique situation.