In order to stand the test of time, a house must first be built upon a strong foundation. But even the strongest foundation can be weakened by excess moisture that puts added strain on its walls. Read on to learn about the many problems moisture can cause and to discover some helpful tips for keeping water away from your home’s foundation.
Problems Created by Water Near Your Foundation
Water that collects around your foundation can create many problems. You may already be aware of some of these, but we’re willing to bet others will come as a bit of a surprise.
Erosion of Soil Near the Foundation
One of the biggest problems that tends to grow overtime is the erosion of the soil around your foundation. Whether from overflowing (clogged) gutters that cut a trench in the soil or poor grading, water that collects around your foundation not only causes erosion, but it can also kill off any vegetation that helps soak up excess water. This erosion will actually cut the soil in a way that will direct even more water toward your foundation walls. Left unattended, this problem becomes worse overtime.
Strain On the Foundation Walls
Your home’s foundation walls are literally the foundation upon which your entire house stands. Water allowed to collect around your home will exert added strain on your foundation walls as the soil expands when it’s wet and shrinks when it’s dry. In the winter, this is made even worse by the freeze and thaw cycles we see in Northeast Ohio. As the soil shifts, the foundation walls will be prone to shift, which can cause significant structural damage and pose serious safety risks.
One thing that is true of water and makes it one of the most destructive forces on earth is that it always finds a place to go. If water is not diverted away from your foundation walls, it will follow the path of least resistance, which is typically into the basement. Leaks may appear near window wells, in cracks in the foundation walls, or at mortar joints. Excess moisture may even seep through your porous concrete walls. Sometimes, these leaks cause nothing more than a minor headache for homeowners. Other times, these leaks can lead to an explosion of mold growth or grow into much bigger, structural concerns.
One often overlooked issue created by excess moisture collecting around the foundation walls is the pest activity that often accompanies it. Standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, whose eggs need as little as 48 hours to emerge as adults. Water collecting around your foundation walls may also be inviting rodents to build nests nearby. Rodents, including foundation-wrecking groundhogs, typically build nests near water sources.
Tips for Keeping Water Away from Your Home’s Foundation
One of the most important things a homeowner can do to prevent water from collecting around their foundation is to properly clean and maintain the home’s gutters. These divert the water from the roof to the downspouts, which carry the water away from the home’s foundation. Make sure your home’s gutters are clean and functioning properly. In most cases, especially in Northeast Ohio, homeowners will need to clean their gutters in the spring and the fall, at least. Houses surrounded by trees may need monthly cleanings, especially in the summer.
If water has been collecting around your foundation walls, it’s a good bet that the soil around your home is has what is called a negative grade, which directs water toward the house rather than away. Ideally, the soil around your foundation will be graded for a 5% slope, dropping six inches in the first ten feet all the way around the house. Depending on your particular situation, your slope may need to be greater than this, but it should certainly never be less.
Finally, be mindful of the vegetation planted around your home. Plant medium-sized trees no closer than 15 feet from the foundation and small, flowering trees no closer than 6 feet. The roots from these trees can grow into and disrupt your foundation. They can also leach water from the soil around your foundation walls, causing the soil to shrink away from your foundation, which may cause structural shifting.
Trust Aapex Construction & Restoration with Foundation Repair
Are you worried about structural damage caused by excess moisture around your foundation? Aapex Construction & Restoration is here to help. With decades of experience, we are restoration experts who will work with you and your insurance company to ensure your home is covered from the tip of your roof to the bottom of your basement. In addition to repairing any foundation damage, we work to solve the root of the problem by identifying and correcting whatever is causing water to collect around your foundation walls. Contact us today for a consultation!