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 clay soil underneath will not move or crack. There are several simple ways to do this that involve monitoring the soil closest to your home, inspecting your crawlspace, ensuring proper drainage, and more. Here are a few tips to get you started, so you can protect your home today and in the future.
Know What You Can Control To Prevent Foundation Damage
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 foundation and the slab on top of it. Because a severe water leak could progressively wash away the soil that supports your foundation, it could cause your foundation and slab to drop, shift, or crack. Any of these problems can lead to extensive structural damage in any home.
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. Ensuring proper drainage around and underneath your foundation is another thing you can do to prevent water from accumulating underneath your home and causing foundation damage.
Keep Your Eye on Trees To Prevent Foundation Damage
Trees can be another major problem for your Houston home’s foundation. While they might offer you shade and comfort during the summer months, some species have incredibly shallow, invasive roots that can dig deep into the tiniest cracks in your foundation and encroach on your water and sewer lines. As roots grow slowly underground, it may take years for you to notice any damage. However, once they become tough and woody and start to expand in diameter considerably, they can disrupt the soil underneath your home. Since this could cause movement under your house, large cracks may begin to develop in your foundation and slab. Once roots have gotten in, it can be very difficult to get rid of them without removing the tree. Ideally, you will make sure that all of your trees are planted far away from your foundation and also install a root barrier around the perimeter of your home to protect it against invasive root systems.
Check Your Yard Slope
In this case, we are referring to the gentle slope that should exist within the 2 to 4 feet perimeter around any Houston 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 from your home. If you inspect the soil around your home and discover that it slopes toward your foundation instead of away from it, you must take corrective action by adding soil or other filler. Otherwise, rainwater may be funneled in toward your foundation, walls, and crawlspace, where it could cause soil expansion and erosion. These issues may create a whole host of problems throughout your home. We also recommend having a French drain installed around their home. Offering a great alternative to open ditches, this type of drain will further help direct water away from your home, thus preventing it from reaching your foundation.
Clean Your Gutters
Much like the slope of the soil closest to your home’s foundation, your gutters and downspouts are responsible for directing water outward. If your gutters are full of debris, 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 Your Soil Dry Out
While pools of water can be damaging to your foundation, extremely dry soil can be just as harmful. This is because the clay soil that we have in the Greater Houston area tends to crack and shrink away from concrete structures when it dries out. Thus, during dry weather, the ground under your home may dry out completely, leaving dead spaces beneath your foundation that’s no longer supported properly. This may allow your foundation to move and shift, which could cause cracks to develop not only in your foundation and slab but also throughout your entire home. If your area is experiencing a drought, it is wise to use a soaker hose to gently moisten the ground around your foundation, but 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. You can also contact our local foundation repair specialists today and schedule a free foundation inspection before any damage occurs! In case of any foundation problems, our professionals will also be able to recommend the most appropriate repair method for the type of foundation you have and offer you a free, no-hassle foundation repair estimate.