The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Foundation Maintenance and Care
1. LACK OF MOISTURE CONTROL
Too little or too much water can cause soil shrinkage and expansion, respectively. Moisture should be maintained at consistent levels around your home’s perimeter at all times. When the level of moisture dries from one part of your house to another, shifting is likely to occur.
2. POOR RAIN RUN-OFF CONTROL
While not essential, gutters and downspouts can help control soil moisture levels. Downspout extensions, splash blocks or underground piping also help direct rainwater away from your foundation. Failure to do so can lead to moisture imbalances and soil erosion.
3. IMPROPER DRAINAGE
Installing a drainage system alone isn’t enough to ensure adequate moisture protection for your foundation. Your drainage system should slope away from your foundation at an angle of three inches for every five feet.
4. SPRINKLER SYSTEM WASTE
Using directional sprinkler heads on a conventional system allows homeowners to point the flow of water toward their foundation. If a hose-end sprinkler is used, owners should use units that also drop water on the ground, rather than spray directly in the air.
5. WIND-RELATED WATER LOSS
Even a slight breeze can disperse water away from your foundation. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure to change the timing if it’s visibly windy.
6. WATERING WHEN THE SUN IS HIGH
The higher the temperature, the faster water evaporates. Since the barometer reaches such scorching levels during the summer months in Texas, it’s best to water your foundation when the temperature is as cool as possible, either early in the morning or late at night.
7. LANDSCAPE WATER CONSUMPTION
Few homeowners realize the damage that can happen to their foundation when the wrong plant is in the wrong place. A single oak tree, for example, can consume 100 gallons of water on a hot summer day. Plants should be landscaped with the foundation in mind.
8. PLACING SOAKER HOSES TOO CLOSE TO THE PERIMETER
It’s best to install soaker hoses six inches away from the perimeter of your home, and buried about three inches into the ground. Placing the hoses too close to the foundation can cause water to saturate the soil underneath the perimeter of your home’s foundation, causing it to heave.
9. BE LIEVING THAT RAIN ALLEVIATES THE NEED FOR PROPER MAINTENANCE
It’s dry in Texas most of the year, so when it rains, parched soil expands. When the ground dries up, it then contracts again. Rain can be a catalyst for movement that causes damage to your foundation. Make sure to maintain moisture after a shower.
10. IGNORING EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Doors or windows that won’t close, or hairline cracks in the flooring, ceiling or walls are early signs that your house is shifting. By repairing your foundation early on, you’ll avoid unnecessary damage and costs.