Foundation Maintenance

You’ve probably heard this before; an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. It’s a cliché for a reason — because it’s true! The cost of foundation maintenance can be minimal and require little time and effort, but a foundation repair can cost you thousands of dollars!

Consider these 7 Tips for Home Foundation Maintenance:

  • If you see minor cracks in your home, don’t ignore them. Write down where you found the cracks, and measure how long they are. Check the length of the cracks every couple of months or so. If the cracks are getting longer, it may be time for you to get a specialist to inspect your home and your foundation.
  • Maintain a constant level of moisture for the soil around your house. The soil you find all over the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex can absorb and lose considerable amounts of water. During months of heavy rain, the soil will swell up when it becomes wet. During the summer and other dry months, the soil will shrink. This constant expansion and contraction put stress on the foundation of your home. To prevent possible damage, you may need to use soaker hoses to keep the moisture level steady. Watering your home foundation won’t fix your current foundation problems, but it will slow down the rate of deterioration.
  • Provide drainage away from the foundation perimeter and ensure there is no standing water near the foundation wall or slab. This may encourage even moisture content underneath the slab and reduces soil movement under the foundation slab.
  • Make sure the trees around your home aren’t causing problems for your foundation. Check with a specialist, especially if the trees around your home are large. Be sure to water the trees around your home in the dry season. Don’t be too stingy with the water, as large trees can absorb up to 150 gallons of water. If the trees can’t find the needed moisture, they will venture towards the soil beneath your home’s foundation.
  • Keep the ground elevations of the flower beds around your home 3 to 4 inches below the slab. The flower bed should be sloped away from the foundation for proper drainage. Doing this keeps the moisture from seeping into the wall system or inside the home.
  • Maintain a steady temperature inside your home. This will help prevent (or at least reduce) the tendency of the concrete slab to expand and contract. That means you shouldn’t let too long a time pass when you don’t heat or cool your home.
  • Check for leaks inside and around your home. This includes checking your sewer line, potable water lines, and the plumbing system. Leaking water can cause adjacent areas of the soil to have inconsistent moisture levels, which will damage your foundation.

Following these 7 maintenance tips will go a long way in helping to protect your home foundation from damage and costly repairs. You might also consider an annual inspection as part of your ongoing foundation maintenance program.

TEC Foundation Inspections

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12 replies
  1. Jay
    Jay says:

    One great way to reduce water around your how is to have a good roof drainage system that funnels water away from your home. So, thanks for mentioning that. Water around the foundation can really do a number to it.

    Reply
    • Kristina
      Kristina says:

      You are absolutely right, Jay. Gutters and downspouts that move water away from your home’s foundation is the cheapest way to preserve the integrity of your structure. You’d be surprised how many homeowners fail to understand the impact of such a simple fix.

      Reply
  2. Penelope Smith
    Penelope Smith says:

    This is some really good information about foundation repairs. It is good to know that it would be smart to prevent drainage problems around my home. I am not sure how to do that. So, it seems like it would be smart for me to have an expert help me with that.

    Reply
    • Kristina
      Kristina says:

      Penelope, thanks for reading! In DFW we trust Lee Engineering with drainage related issues. They’ve been around since the 70’s and truly understand the engineering side of drainage and irrigation. http://www.lee-engineering.com I appreciate your feedback. Thanks again. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Vanessa Blair
    Vanessa Blair says:

    My dad was cleaning our basement when he noticed that there are cracks on the floor and wall. It was discussed here that if he sees minor cracks it’s best to pay attention and have professionals inspect. Having said that, it’s recommended to hire professionals for quality foundation repair services.

    Reply
    • Kristina
      Kristina says:

      Vanessa, thanks for your comment. Yes, your dad needs to have a professional inspect his foundation. That person should be a Licensed Professional Engineer, not a foundation repair company. The Licensed P.E. will perform an evaluation to create an unbiased 8-10 page engineer’s report. Suggested repairs will be outlined in the report (if there are any).

      Reply
  4. Ken Hwan
    Ken Hwan says:

    I really like your tip to try and prevent any standing water from being near your foundation, since it will erode away at the concrete underneath. My brother recently moved to a new city that has a lot of rainstorms. I will be sure to tell him to try and prevent any standing water from being in his yard!

    Reply
  5. Mark Murphy
    Mark Murphy says:

    I really like your tip to avoid any standing water that is close to the base of your house, that way the water won’t warp any of your foundation! My brother just recently moved into a house with a lot of hills in his yard, and because of that, I am concerned that standing water will leak into his foundation. I will be sure to tell my brother that he should look for any standing water that might be in his yard!

    Reply
    • Kristina
      Kristina says:

      Hello Mark, thanks for your comment. If he notices that water is puddling next to his home’s foundation, he will want to call a drainage professional to install a French Drain. We recommend Lee Engineering if you are in DFW. They are experienced and know how to correctly design drainage solutions. http://www.lee-engineering.com

      Reply
  6. Mark Murphy
    Mark Murphy says:

    I really appreciate your tip to avoid letting any standing water get too close to our house’s foundation since it can seep into the cracks of the cement. My wife and I recently moved into a neighborhood that gets a lot of rain. I will be sure to keep an eye out for standing water after a big rainstorm!

    Reply
  7. Derek Dewitt
    Derek Dewitt says:

    I want to finish my basement soon so thanks for these tips. I like your point about maintaining moisture around your home. I’ll be sure to fill in any cracks and holes so water doesn’t damage it.

    Reply
  8. Sarah Smith
    Sarah Smith says:

    I didn’t realize that your foundation can crack because the shrinking and expanding of the surrounding soil can put stress on the concrete. With that in mind, maybe we should start looking into better water runoff equipment for our home. It looks like we have some cracks in our basement walls, so we could probably ask a foundation repair service what they advise.

    Reply

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