How to Save Money with the Best Foundation Maintenance Tips
Easily install simple, inexpensive foundation maintenance tips. Start with a foundation watering programs. This helps maintain even moisture around the foundation. Next check your landscaping and note where tree and shrubbery roots grow close to the home. Installing root barriers helps keep destructive roots at bay. Third on the list is drainage. Check how moisture collects around your foundation. You may need extra drainage solutions.
Understanding What Causes Foundation Cracks
Hot dry Summer months bring cause the highest amount of slab foundation movement. Movement causes foundation cracks. It also causes interior damage such as cracks to walls, brick or tiling. Foundation movement also affects plumbing. Stressed pipes eventually spring leaks. You’ll find doors and windows begin to stick or do not close. Our foundation maintenance tips help limit foundation movement which helps avoid costly repairs. They focus on maintaining even moisture levels around a building or home foundation.
Foundation Maintenance Tips – An Analogy
Picture a very big sponge. That is the soil under your home foundation. Now picture a flat bit of tin foil resting on top of the sponge. That is your house foundation. Pour a little water on the corner of the sponge. Watch it expand and push that corner of the tin foil up. Let the sponge dry and see how the tin foil levels out. This is how uneven moisture around your foundation moves your foundation up and down.
Soils expand as they absorb water and contract as they lose water. This movement stresses foundations causing foundation cracks. Hot dry weather dries out soils. This sees soils contracting like drying out a sponge. Wet weather expands soils the same way our semi-wet sponge expanded. Foundation Maintenances tips help keep moisture levels even throughout the year.
Foundation Maintenance Tips #1 – Foundation Watering Program
Setting up a foundation watering system is like watering your garden. You will need:
- Soaker hoses
- Outside faucet/spigot
- Optional: 2 Way Garden Hose Splitter
- Optional: Hose or Sprinkler Timer
Bury the soaker hose three inches deep, 6 inches from the edge of your foundation. It is important to set hoses slightly away from the foundation. This lets the water soak evenly into the soil in all directions. Automate watering. Add a 2-way garden splitter hose attached to a hose or sprinkler timer. During dry periods, set the timer for watering 15 minutes a day. During wet periods, turn the timer off. Decrease or increase watering periods as needed. Remember the goal is maintaining even moisture around the foundation. You want it damp but not soggy.
During hot dry spans, have you ever noticed how the soil pulls away from the foundation? Remember our sponge? Pour a little water in the middle. Watch it expand in only that one spot. Hoses right against foundations do the same thing. Water flows along that crack, pooling under the foundation. Soils expand under the foundation where the water pools. This is why placing hoses a little away from the foundation is important. You want water soaking in around the foundation so that soils expand evenly around your home.
Foundation Maintenance Tips #2 – Adjusting Foundation Drainage
You may need or may not need more foundation drainage. Next heavy rain, walk around your home. Yes, you have to go out while the water is coming down. Watch how water falls from your roof. Note where water has trouble moving away from the house. Note where water is puddling against the foundation. The goal is keeping water moving away from the house. This prevents it from pooling around and under the foundation.
- Add gutters where they are missing.
- Make sure gutter downspouts guide water away from the house.
- Slow soil down away from the foundation, about an inch down for every foot.
- If sloping soil is not possible, install area drains such as French drains or swales. The goal – move water away from foundations.
- Water should not pool within 10 feet of a foundation.
- What is a swale? A swale is simply a very shallow ditch that carries water away.
- Check other sources of water. Fixed leaking sprinkler heads, spigots, and plumbing.
Foundation Maintenance Tips #3 – Consider Root Barriers
Water attracts tree and shrubbery roots like a magnet. You would never know that slowly growing plants have voracious appetites for water. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water, or almost 20 cubic feet of water, from the soil each day. While you water your foundation, trees, and shrubs steadily pull the water back out of the soil. Your watering system is also guiding roots toward the foundation. Roots under foundations dry out the soil and push against it. Both cause cracks in concrete and plumbing.
Most people have trees and shrubs around their home. Is this you? Consider installing a root barrier between your trees and your foundation. This keeps roots at bay. It helps reduce the amount of water they pulling from around and under your foundation.
Root Barrier installation involves heavy work. While you can do it yourself, consider bringing in a contractor. What is the heavy work? Start with digging about 6 feet away from the foundation. Roots typically go about 30 inches down so make the trench it about 3 feet deep. Lay the barrier around the trench. Then fill the trench back in.
Foundation Maintenance Tips – Simple Solutions
Find supplies for all three projects at your local hardware store. Get everything in place. Your foundation will thank you! Arch Foundation Repair can help you with any of these projects so contact us or give us a call at (214) 467-9700.