The best way to preserve your home's foundation, and avoid costly foundation repairs, is to create stable conditions around your Houston home so that the slab will not settle or crack. There are several simple ways to do this that involve monitoring the soil closest to your home, inspecting your basement, and more. Here are a few tips to get you started, so you can protect your home today.
Know What You Can Control
One of the biggest causes of foundation damage in the Houston area is indoor plumbing leaks. These account for thousands of dollars in damage every year, and they can be devastating for your concrete slab because the water washes away the supporting soil and creates tiny fractures in your foundation that widen over time. You can minimize the risk of this happening by having your plumbing inspected every year, especially in the bathroom, where water is likely to back up if there is a problem anywhere in the house.
Keep Your Eye on Trees
Trees are another major problem for your home's foundation. While they might offer you shade and comfort during Houston's warm months, they often produce invasive roots that can dig deep into the tiniest pores of your foundation. It may take years for you to notice the damage, as roots grow slowly and deep underground. However, when they start to harden up, they often heave the earth upwards, which can add pressure to the underside of your slab and cause large cracks. Once roots have gotten in, it can be very difficult to get rid of them without killing the tree. Ideally, you will make sure that all of your trees are planted far away from your foundation, and install a root barrier around the perimeter of the building to protect you against unwanted growth.
Check Your Slope
In this case, we are referring to the gentle slope of the soil that exists in the two to four feet around your home. Whether your house is on a large hill or not, all of the soil that touches your foundation should be built up in such a way that falling rain can easily drain away. If you inspect the soil around your Houston home and discover that everything slopes inward to create a little moat, you must take corrective action by adding soil, rock or other filler. Some Houston homeowners opt for a fresh drain around their home. Otherwise, rainwater may be funneled in toward your walls and left to sit, where it can cause further erosion, freezing, expansion cracks and more.
Clean Your Gutters
Much like the slope of the earth closest to your Houston foundation, your gutters and downspouts are responsible for directing water outward. If your gutters are full of leaves, or if they are rusted through, they cannot do their job properly. Cleaning your gutters in the spring, and sometimes in the fall as well, will ensure that water can be safely gathered and routed away without overflowing down to your foundation.
Don't Let Things Dry Out
While pools of water can be damaging to your foundation, extremely dry soil can be just as harmful. This is because dry soil contracts, leaving dead spaces beneath your foundation that are no longer properly supported. If your area is experiencing a drought, it is wise to use a soaker hose to gently moisten the ground without causing water to run off.
Many of the tasks on this list can be completed in little time and without any special tools. However, you should make sure to have a professional assess any damage that you discover during your routine inspections and maintenance. For this, contact your local foundation repair specialists today and speak to one of our experts about scheduling your consultation and foundation repair.