Caring for Your Home Foundation in Texas
Because of unstable clay soils, an undamaged home foundation can’t be taken for granted in many parts of Texas. Keeping an intact foundation will require that you take an active role in its care. How do you care for a foundation? There is no one single answer but rather, several things you must do and keep track of.
Here are seven of them:
Be Aware of Any Concrete Floor Leaks
A leaking pipe under your concrete floor can cause the surrounding soil to heave and damage your slab foundation. If your water bills suddenly increase for no apparent reason, or you hear unexplained running water sounds, or parts of your concrete floor feel very warm, have the problem immediately checked by a professional. Know the locations of your incoming service piping and sewer lines and keep an eye on the ground above them for signs of leakage.
Water the Soil Near Your Foundation During Droughts
Prevent the soil near your foundation from drying and shrinking during droughts. This requires irrigating the soil with a soaker hose located about 18 inches from the side of your home. Maintain the soil moisture without over watering by using a timer.
Beware of Trees Located Too Close to Your Home
How close is too close? A good rule of thumb is the distance should be farther than the tree’s adult height. The roots of trees actively seek moisture during the dry months of the year. Tree roots near or under your foundation will dry and cause shrinkage of the soil, leaving areas under your foundation without support. Transplant trees farther away from your foundation or install root barriers.
Redirect Water Runoff from Your Roof with Guttering
Install a gutter system on your roof to collect rainwater. Its downspouts should discharge the water at least five feet from the side of your house. Ensure that the water discharge flows away from your home. Keep your gutters and downspouts free of debris.
Landscape Your Property with Drainage in Mind
Rain water should always flow away from your home. Therefore, your property should slope downhill (3-5%) away from your foundation. When this isn’t possible, use surface drains with catch basins in the low spots where rain water pools. If your home is on a hillside, subsurface water flow from the uphill side is possible. If subsurface water flow is a problem, install a French drain.
Flower beds and shrubs should slope down away from your house following the natural slope of the ground beneath. Ensure that your plants never grow against the foundation. Give them enough space so that their growth never crowds the foundation when they mature. The main point is that the flower beds and shrubbery should never dam up water against your foundation. Check for this after a rain storm.
Avoid Exposing Your Foundation to Artificial Sources of Water
Don’t expose your foundation to water from lawn sprinklers, nearby swimming pools (which can penetrate into the surrounding soil), dripping outdoor faucets, and air conditioning condensate discharges.
Stop Soil Erosion Before It Reaches Your Foundation
If part of your property near your home is eroding away because it steeply slopes, it’s only a matter of time before the erosion reaches your foundation. A sure way of stopping erosion is installing and backfilling a retaining wall at the bottom of the slope. The retaining wall should have drainage weep holes to prevent the earth above it from becoming waterlogged.
Sometimes in spite of your best efforts, foundation damage may still occur. Whether it was caused by a plumbing leak that wasn’t caught in time or some other reason, it’s important to get your foundation checked by experts at the first signs of foundation damage before it worsens and requires more costly residential foundation repair.
If you have questions, concerns, or problems with your foundation or the drainage of your property, contact us at Perma-Pier Foundation Repair of Texas.