Water can be the number one enemy of a strong, functioning foundation. As a homeowner, you need to know how moisture can affect your foundation and what to do about the problem. Here are some soggy situations that could cause foundation damage or even failure over time.
Sump Pump Problems
Sump pumps are designed to collect and remove excess water from inside your basement. If your sump pump is malfunctioning or if you don't have one, moisture can build up and cause problems in the long term.
You should typically use a sump pump along with other water management measures, since often the reason you need a pump in the first place is that water is being pushed right through your foundation walls or seeping through the cracks and seams.
If you have a slab foundation, a slab leak can be extremely damaging. This type of leak is caused by damage to the water supply pipe or sewer pipe that runs beneath your foundation slab. Once water exits the pipe, it can erode the ground beneath the foundation, literally undermining your home's stability.
Signs of a slab leak include a sound of rushing water coming from beneath the foundation, unexplained moisture on the basement floor, a rise in humidity in your house (sometimes accompanied by mold), and a sudden increase in water bills. If you suspect a slab leak, you'll need to call for repairs right away; you can't put off this fix.
Your roof collects over a half gallon per square foot each time you receive an inch of rain. So for a 3,000 square foot roof, that's more than 1,500 gallons. All this water will go straight to the soil around the foundation and increase stress on the foundation wall if you don't do something about it.
In order to protect your foundation, you need to extend your downspouts 10 feet away from the house. And keep an eye on your gutter and downspout system to make sure it's handling all the rain well. If your gutters tend to overflow, you may need larger gutters, more downspouts, or a slightly steeper pitch to help the gutters drain faster.
Improper Yard Grading
In addition to keeping roof runoff from sogging the soil around the foundation, you need to ensure your yard is graded correctly so all the rainfall around your house is pulled away from the foundation, not toward it. This means that the soil around your house needs to slope away, with a decrease of one inch per foot for the entire area surrounding your house.
The reason this is important is that wet soil exerts hydrostatic pressure on your foundation wall. Over time, hydrostatic pressure can cause cracks and even buckling and other severe damage.
The soggier the soil, the more pressure it places on your foundation wall. That's why your downspout extensions and yard grading are so important. But there's one factor you can't control so well, and that's how the soil behaves in the presence of water.
Some areas of the country have soil that expands a lot when it gets wet. As it attempts to swell, the soil places even more stress on a foundation wall that's already stressed from the hydrostatic pressure.
If you have this problem, you need to keep an even closer eye on your foundation than usual. You may want to extend your downspouts even further, and you'll need to perform home foundation inspections more frequently.
These situations can all lead to the need for foundation repairs. If you suspect your foundation needs repairs, or if you'd like advice on maintenance and prevention, call Bonilla Foundation Repair today. We offer both residential and commercial foundation repair services.