9 Ways to Protect the Foundation of a House

August 10, 2023

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Homeowners often wonder how to protect the foundation of a house against damage. This is an excellent subject, as protecting a foundation can mean avoiding thousands of dollars in repair costs! Also, a well-protected foundation can enhance property values. On the other hand, a damaged foundation can lower property values!

How to protect the foundation of a house:

  1. Install vapor barriers
  2. Ensure proper drainage
  3. Maintain gutters and downspouts
  4. Install waterproofing
  5. Install a sump pump
  6. Maintain proper grading
  7. Ventilate the foundation
  8. Schedule prompt repairs
  9. Have the foundation inspected regularly

These steps might seem very simple, but they can go a long way toward protecting your home’s foundation against damage. Knowing more about these steps can ensure you’re doing everything to keep your home in good condition!

Also, understanding these options can alert you to when it’s time to call a foundation repair contractor near you. They can recommend various solutions for your home’s foundation design and materials. In turn, you’ll know that your property is strong and stable from the ground up!

how to protect the foundation of a house

How to Protect the Foundation of a House - 9 Easy Tips

Protecting the foundation of a house is essential for maintaining its structural integrity. Here are 9 effective measures you can take to protect your home’s foundation:

Install vapor barriers

In crawl spaces, installing a vapor barrier can help control moisture and prevent excess humidity from affecting the foundation. These also ensure a clean, dry space that’s easier to access. Vapor barriers also protect framing and other materials against damage.

Ensure proper drainage

Ensure that your property has proper drainage systems in place to direct rainwater and runoff away from the foundation. This includes installing gutters and downspouts, grading the land away from the house, and using features like French drains. These all help to prevent water from pooling around the foundation.

Maintain gutters and downspouts

Regularly clean and maintain gutters and downspouts to prevent clogs that lead to water overflowing and pooling near the foundation. Consider using gutter guards to reduce debris buildup. If needed, hire a power washing professional to address thick dirt and grime. They can also ensure clean, clog-free downspouts as well.

Install waterproofing

Apply waterproofing coatings or membranes to exterior foundation walls to prevent moisture penetration. This can help keep the foundation dry and prevent water damage. Inside a basement, you can also apply waterproofing membranes and coatings. These often apply like paint, for easy application.

Install a sump pump

If your area is prone to heavy rainfall or flooding, consider installing a sump pump in the basement or crawl space. A sump pump removes excess water and prevents it from accumulating around the foundation. Sump pumps are especially effective in areas prone to flooding or extreme moisture buildup.

Maintain proper grading

Ensure that the ground around the foundation slopes away from the house. This prevents water from flowing toward the foundation, reducing the risk of water infiltration. If you’re unsure about your property’s grading, call a landscape engineer or foundation repair contractor. They can measure the grade and suggest changes as needed.

Ventilate the foundation

Proper ventilation in crawl spaces helps control moisture levels. This prevents the buildup of humidity that can lead to foundation issues. Also, it’s vital that you ensure proper ventilation in basements or homes with concrete slabs. Check roof vents regularly for needed maintenance or repairs.

If you cannot ensure proper ventilation in your home, use dehumidifiers. These capture airborne moisture and humidity, so it doesn’t settle on basement walls and floors. Dehumidifiers then reduce the risk of water-related damage to your home’s foundation.

Schedule prompt repairs

The longer you ignore foundation leaks and other issues, the worse that damage becomes. Also, cracks let in moisture that risks wood framing rot along a home’s subfloor and walls. That moisture can also mean damaged drywall, mold growth, mildew under carpeting, and insect infestation.

To avoid these issues and protect your property’s foundation against severe damage, always schedule repairs as needed. This includes crack and leak patching and leveling. These services ensure a foundation in good condition.

Have the foundation inspected regularly

Inspect the foundation regularly for signs of cracks, settling, or other issues. Early detection and addressing of problems can prevent further damage. Also, inspections can tell you if the foundation is in good condition! In turn, you’ll know that you don’t need to budget for repairs or other updates for the immediate future.

Lastly, note that a foundation inspector can also check the surrounding property for risks. These might include pooling water, poor grading, and soil that doesn’t compact very well. Addressing these issues can protect your foundation from damage.

a contractor fixing foundation leaks

How Can I Protect My Home’s Foundation From Water Damage?

In addition to the above tips, consider some added methods for protecting a foundation from water damage:

  • Avoid planting trees and large shrubs too close to the foundation. The roots of these plants can grow and potentially cause damage to the foundation. Choose plants with non-invasive root systems.
  • Use gutter extensions or splash blocks to direct water from downspouts farther away from the foundation. This helps prevent water from pooling near the house.
  • Consider using landscaping features like swales and berms to redirect water away from the foundation. Well-designed landscaping can play a role in managing water flow around the property.
  • Watering plants and lawns near the foundation should be done in moderation. Excessive watering can lead to oversaturation of the soil around the foundation.
  • Protect the foundation from the home’s interior by using dehumidifiers where needed. Also, ensure proper ventilation throughout the house. Address floods and plumbing leaks promptly, to keep excess water away from the foundation.

What Can I Put Around My House to Protect the Foundation?

How to address the area surrounding your home’s foundation affects its overall durability and stability. Check out a few suggestions for what you can put around the house to protect a basement, slab, or pier and beam foundation:

  • Attach gutter extensions or place splash blocks at the end of downspouts to ensure that water is directed away from the foundation and doesn't pool near the house.
  • Install French drains or gravel-filled trenches around the perimeter of your house. These features help collect and redirect excess water away from the foundation.
  • Use permeable landscaping materials, such as gravel or permeable pavers, in areas near the foundation. These materials allow water to drain through, reducing the risk of water pooling.
  • Create rain gardens with native plants in areas where water tends to collect. Rain gardens help absorb excess water and prevent it from reaching the foundation.

Also, remember that a foundation repair contractor can offer added suggestions for your property. They might note if your property could benefit from a sump pump, rain barrels, and the like. These can all direct water away from the foundation and ensure it’s in good condition.

cracks in a foundation wall

What Are the Signs of Foundation Damage?

Protecting a foundation against damage is the best choice for avoiding otherwise unnecessary repair costs. However, it’s also vital to know the signs of foundation damage for your home. This information allows you to schedule an inspection and repairs promptly, to keep it from getting worse. Here are some common signs of foundation damage:

  • Vertical, diagonal, or horizontal cracks in interior walls, especially around door frames, windows, and corners, can indicate foundation movement.
  • Cracks that form in ceilings, especially where walls meet the ceiling, might indicate foundation settling.
  • Floors that slope or feel uneven can suggest foundation issues.
  • If doors and windows suddenly become difficult to open or close, it might be due to foundation movement.
  • Cracks in the exterior brick, stucco, or concrete walls can signal foundation problems.
  • Gaps between exterior bricks or separation at the foundation joints can indicate foundation movement.
  • Parts of the house appearing to sink or settle, leading to an uneven appearance.
  • Exterior walls that bow, tilt, or lean are signs of foundation issues.
  • Water seepage, dampness, or pooling in the basement or crawl space can be a sign of foundation problems.
  • An uneven landscape, where one part of the yard is sinking, could indicate foundation issues.
  • Cracks in concrete slabs, such as the garage floor or driveway, can be indicative of shifting or settling foundations.
  • Gaps or separations between crown moldings and the ceiling or baseboards and the floor can suggest foundation movement.
  • Frequent plumbing leaks, pipes that constantly clog, or issues with heating and cooling systems can be related to foundation shifts affecting the building's systems.

A Word From Our Crew

Bloomington Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain how to protect the foundation of a house. Hopefully we’ve given you some good information to consider. Also, if you’re in the area, you can call our Bloomington foundation repair contractors. We’ll schedule a FREE price quote and foundation inspection. We provide a wide range of services, from crack and leak patching to underpinning, leveling, and waterproofing. To find out more, call us today.

 

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