Foundation Maintenance Tips
Major Texas Foundation Repair Company Shares Money Saving Foundation Maintenance Tips
Learn about foundation maintenance tips.
(United States, Texas, Dallas) July 27, 2010
Summer months bring hot dry weather which causes the highest amount of slab foundation movement. This leads to foundation cracks, as well as interior damage such as cracked walls, brick or tiling. Foundation movement also affects plumbing, by stressing pipes, leading to cracks and leaks. Doors and windows may begin to stick or not close. Frederick Marshall, CEO of the Dallas based Advanced Foundation Repair, shares some inexpensive foundation maintenance tips. These tips are a good first step toward helping avoid more costly repairs.
“Foundation maintenance is all about maintaining even moisture levels around building or home foundations.” Marshall shares. “The easiest do it yourself foundation maintenance tip is a watering program. More advanced projects ensure proper drainage around the foundation. Ultimately, if needed, place root barriers between trees and your foundation.”
Soils act like a sponge, expanding as they absorb water and contracting as they lose water. This movement causes foundations to crack. Soils dry out during the dry summer months and expand during the winter and spring when the moisture returns. Keeping the moisture levels even through out the year is what foundation maintenance is all about.
For a foundation watering system, all you’ll need are soaker hoses and a faucet. Bury the soaker hose three inches deep, 6 inches from the edge of your foundation. Placing the hose a short distance from the foundation allows the water to soak evenly into the soil. Be careful not to place the hose against the foundation. When soil has dried and cracked, water can travel along the cracks for several feet in all directions. If the soil around your foundation is dried and cracked, then water placed next to the foundation will run through the cracks and accumulate around or under the foundation.
How much should you water? Obviously, it is necessary to water more during hot, dry weather and less during cold, damp weather. Start in the dry summer months with a 15 minute a day water regime. This can be increased or decreased as needed. The goal is to maintain a constant moisture level in the soil so that soil below the surface is damp – not soggy and not dry.
Once the watering system is set up, review the trees around the building. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water, or almost 20 cubic feet of water, from the soil each day. Shrubs and other plants can also remove large quantities of water. When roots get under your foundations, they can cause foundation damage by drying out the soil under your foundation and causing your foundation to settle. Roots also break into pipes causing extensive plumbing damage. In such cases broken pipes lead to over wet soils which will cause foundations to heave.
Installing a root barrier between your trees and your foundation will keep the roots from pulling moisture from around and under your foundation. Installation is a bit more difficult than installing soaker hoses. Install root barriers by digging a trench, laying the barrier material in the trench, and refilling the trench. Root barriers should be at least 3 feet deep, going as least one foot deeper than the side of your foundation.
Preventing pooling water around and under a foundation is recommend for home owners who are do it yourself pros. Install gutters and downspouts that take water coming from your roof and channel it away from your foundation. Try adjusting slopes, if possible, sloping the ground away from the foundation. Typically a slope of an inch a foot for 4 to 5 feet is adequate as long as water is not allowed to stand within 10 feet of a foundation. If grading is not possible, install area drains to collect surface water and move it away from the foundation. In some situations, shallow French Drains can be used as a solution. When possible, direct water into a street, drainage ditch, or swale. A swale is simply a very shallow ditch that is used to carry off water.
Other possible areas to check and work on include:
- Plumbing & sewer system checks to ensure there are no leaks or blockages
- Checking sprinkler systems for leaks
- Checking pool pumps and circulation systems for leaks
Supplies for these foundation maintenance tips and projects should be available at your local hardware stores. Advanced Foundation Repair is a major Texas foundation repair company that works with home owners and building owners on creating foundation maintenance programs. This includes creating and installing foundation watering programs, root barriers along with gutters, downspouts and other drainage solutions.