With nature coming back to life, spring really is the most exciting time of the year. But in Houston, spring is also the rainiest season. While a little rain usually isn’t a problem, heavy rainfall and flooding can cause a lot of damage to a home. Besides causing different issues, such as foundation heave, cracks in the foundation and walls, and damp patches on walls, ceilings, and floors, which are usually followed by mold growth and wood rot, rainwater can also make existing problems worse.
The good news is that you can easily prevent water damage to your home. As prevention is always better than cure, here are some steps you can take to protect your home from the rain.
Step 1: Ensure Proper Drainage
Ensuring proper drainage around your property is one of the things you can do to keep rainwater away from your home. The easiest way to determine whether your drainage system functions properly or not is to check for standing water near your home after heavy rain.
If pools of water do form, you should measure the grading around your home. As a general rule, the ground should slope at least 6 inches within the first 10 feet around the perimeter of your foundation. If the slope is shallower, you need to add soil to the area around your foundation in order to create a steeper slope and prevent rainwater from accumulating around and under your foundation.
But the slope around your home shouldn’t be too steep either. A steep slope combined with heavy rainfall could lead to soil erosion over time. This problem can be avoided by filling the slope with soil or compost and then planting some grass or other groundcovers, which can prevent the soil from being washed away by rain.
Once positive grading has been achieved around your home, you should also install a proper landscape drainage system. Depending on the size and overall condition of your property, you could opt for a French drain, dry well, and/or weeping tile system. Additionally, you should keep the gutters and downspouts clear of dirt and debris so that the rainwater can run freely through them. If they’re clogged, heavy rain may send cascades of water down the side of your home and under your foundation. Downspouts should also extend far enough to effectively route rainwater away from your foundation.
Step 2: Elevate Your Home
House lifting involves elevating the physical structure of your home on concrete piers so that floodwaters can run underneath your living space. To complete the house lifting process, our professionals use a unified hydraulic jacking machine along with hydraulic jacks, which are meant to keep the home stable during the lift. Once the hydraulic jacks are in position, a series of concrete piers are installed in order to raise the home above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) level recommended. Steel brackets are then used to securely attach the piers to the base of the foundation. Jacking up your home above the BFE gives it added protection from potential flood events while also lowering your flood insurance premiums.
Step 3: Encapsulate Your Crawlspace and Install Flood Vents
While encapsulation can prevent rainwater from entering under your home, it can rarely keep floodwaters out of crawlspaces. It is for this reason that professionals advise Houston homeowners to install dedicated crawlspace drainage systems as well as FEMA-compliant flood vents. These systems are designed to eliminate excess water and provide efficient relief from hydrostatic pressure, which tends to build up when floodwaters rise.
Step 4: Maintain a Constant Moisture Level in the Soil
When there is a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, the expansive clay soil around and under your foundation can dry out and shrink. As soon as the rain returns and soaks into the ground, it can cause the soil to expand significantly. Soil expansion and contraction can exert great pressure on different components of the foundation, including the piers and slab. One way to prevent the movement caused by expansion-contraction cycles is to keep the ground around your foundation moist during drought conditions.
A few more steps you could take in order to protect your home and foundation from water damage include:
- Inspecting the foundation and exterior walls for cracks and deteriorated mortar/siding, which may let rainwater leak into your home;
- Installing a backflow valve to prevent sewer backups;
- Monitoring foliage near your home and installing root barrier systems, if required;
- Checking the roof for cracked, warped, or missing shingles and damaged flashing;
- Waterproofing your foundation and crawlspace with specialized sealants and/or membranes.
With changing climate conditions, Houston homes are exposed to more extreme weather events. However, preventing damage by knowing how to drain water from your home’s foundation effectively could save you a lot of money and hassle. To protect your property from water damage or restore the structural integrity of your home, not only are our foundation experts ready to answer any questions you may have about foundation repair; they can also carry out any foundation work required.