Cracking Foundation Maintenance Plan

Advanced Foundation Repair Shares Cracking Foundation Maintenance Preventative Tips

Learn about how a cracking foundation maintenance plan can help.

By Frederick Marshall
March 28, 2012
United States, Texas, Dallas

You’ve heard about cracking foundations, the damage that comes with them and the cost to repair them. For a home owner, the first question is how do I prevent foundation problems?

The top reason for cracking foundations and other foundation problems is:

“By far the most common problem in Texas is the shrinking and swelling of expansive clays. This probably causes 90% of foundation problems, including cracked foundations, cracked sheet rock and brick and misaligned doors and windows,” says Fred Marshall, owner of Advanced Foundation Repair.

Advanced Foundation Repair is a Texas based foundation and home repair company that specializes in foundation repair and maintenance. Advanced goes on to share what you as a home owner can look for and do to maintain your foundation and minimize the damage caused by cracking foundations and other foundation problems.

Expansive clay soils shrink when they dry out and swell up when they absorb water. When soils dry and crack, they cause foundations to shift downward. But when you add water, expansive clays act like sponges and swell up pushing up with thousands of pounds of pressure per square foot, more than enough to lift your home and lift your foundation.

So what can the homeowner do to do? The quick answer is to keep the moisture levels around your home even.

Move excessive amounts of moisture away from your foundation using a combination of gutters and downspouts, slope adjustments, drains and swales.

Developing a Cracking Foundation Maintenance Plan

  1. Gutters and Downspouts are the first things added as they are the easiest way to drain a foundation
  2. The next step is, if possible, to slope 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.
  3. If grading is not possible, consider installing area drains. In some situations, shallow French Drains can be used as a solution.
  4. If you see water running toward your foundation during storms, consider setting up swales to direct water into a street, drainage ditch, or swale. A swale is simply a very shallow ditch that is used to carry off water.

In dry weather set up a foundation watering system.

  1. Measure the area around your house where you can lay a soaker hose.
  2. Purchase enough hose to run the length measured for. You can purchase soaker hoses at any hardware / home repair store such as Home Depot or Lowes.
  3. Create a shallow trench around your house that is 3 inches deep and 6 inches from the foundation.
  4. Connect your soaker hoses to the spigot and then lay the soaker hose down in the trench. Loosely cover the soaker hose using the soil loosened from creating the trench. Start in the dry summer months with a daily watering regime. It is best to water at night to reduce water loss to evaporation.
  5. Soils dry out during cold, dry months so remember to water during dry spells in the cold months.

The drier, hotter and windier the weather there is and the more plants there are, the faster the soil will dry out. Trees because of their size use more water than any other plants and over time the tree can extend it roots into the soil under a home. Changing weather and growing plants are two of the most common reasons why a home might suddenly have foundation problems years after it was it was built.

If you have a lot of plants and trees around the house, see if it is feasible to run root barriers around your foundation. There is a lot of digging involved to create the trench so it will be very intrusive to your landscaping. If this is not something you want to do, then keep an eye on the watering to make up for the water the plants will remove from the soil.

Conditions around a foundation change constantly which is why foundation watering and drainage are important. If you keep the clay soil under your home moist then they won’t shrink and your home won’t move.

Frederick Marshall is the CEO of Advanced Foundation Repair, LLC, a foundation repair company specializing in home repairs from the foundation up including foundation repair, foundation drainage, exterior foundation waterproofing, foundation irrigation, and plumbing services. Advanced Foundation Repair has specialized in foundation repair needs of Texas homeowners for over 100 years. Connect with him on Google+.

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