Foundations are probably the scariest of any homeowners’ fears. If something goes seriously wrong, you may be forced to spend major money to fix the problem. And that’s just the best case – if you don’t notice the problem in time, your whole home may be in danger.
Of course, we don’t mean to scare you. They key to living in your home without worry about major costs or imminent collapse is to keep an eye on and maintaining your foundation so that it doesn’t develop into a disaster. Last month, we shared some early warning signs if a foundation is beginning to fail. Today, we offer 5 free tips for maintaining your home’s foundation in Texas.
1) Fix minor cracks
Every foundation will incur minor cracks over time. Moisture and expanding soil make this development almost inevitable, and the key is not letting it get out of hand. When you spot a hairline crack, fix it yourself (epoxy glue is a great solution) or call a professional before it gets worse.
2) Keep Water Consistent on the Outside
Most foundation problems occur because of the pressure of soil, which shrinks when dry and expands when wet. Prevent it from getting too wet by ensuring that your downspout extends at least 5 to 10 feet away from the house and avoid puddling right against the foundation. If water puddles after heavy rain, you may need to install a french drain to ensure that it gets guided away from the foundation.
But the opposite of too much could be just as dangerous. During one of Texas’ famous droughts, the soil may shrink away from the foundation, which will be incredibly dangerous as soon as the next rainfall hits and the “thirsty” soil expands again to soak it in. To prevent this from happening, consistently water your soil around your foundation during dry periods to ensure a healthy and consistent level of moisture.
3) Consider the Grading
Depending on how your home was build and how the yard around it has developed, puddling around your foundation also may mean that you have a grading issue. Ideally, your yard should be graded at least 6 inches in 10 feet away from your foundation, which guides water away from your home naturally. If you can’t grade the soil around your home properly, consider installing a moisture barrier that goes at least 5 feet deep to avoid puddling water.
4) Avoid Pesky Roots
Of course, water isn’t the only thing that could harm your foundation. Never plant trees or shrubbery with deep and strong roots next to your house. They may look great, but their roots will compete with the foundation as it shrinks during dry periods – which will lead to uneven sinking and eventually further problems. Simply speaking, if a tree’s branches touch your home, it’s planted too close to it.
5) Keep a Steady Temperature
Finally, a simple tip that helps maintain your foundation without much effort. Simply keeping a steady temperature in your home throughout the year can have a significant impact on your foundation. Stark changes in temperature will lead your slab to expand and contract, which – as we’ve learned – leads to cracks and eventually, worse problems. Don’t go through long periods without heating or cooling, even if the home may not be your primary residence.
With these five tips, you should be able to keep a healthy foundations and not let it get to the point of no return. Of course, checking is always a good idea, monitoring the signs of potential slab failure can go a long way toward ensuring that you don’t become a scared and worried homeowner with a failed foundation. But if you do, don’t despair! Contact us and we’ll be glad to help you out of your predicament.