Fall Foundation Maintenance Tips
Most homeowners think of summer as the time to pay particular attention to their home’s foundation. Here in the Fort Worth area, our hot, dry summers can cause the soil around your foundation to crack and shift.
As we move into the cooler, wetter months it’s not the lack of water but poor drainage that can present problems for your home’s foundation. Here are some simple things you can do this fall to ensure your foundation is in good condition.
Foundation Maintenance Tip #1 – Look for Cracks
As you rake and bag leaves and other debris from your lawn and gardens this fall, do a quick inspection of your home’s foundation. Look for new cracks in exterior walls, walkways, and the foundation itself. Small cracks are typically not an indication of foundation problems but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them just the same. The best way to do this is by taking note of their location and size over time.
To do this, simply hold a tape measure next to the crack and grab a photo with your Instamatic or cell phone camera. When you do your preseason cleanup next spring, compare what you observed last fall to the current condition of the crack. If you notice that the crack has widened, deepened, or increased in length, it’s a good idea to have it professionally inspected by a reputable foundation repair contractor.
Foundation Maintenance Tip #2 – Check for Proper Drainage
Keeping the soil around your foundation consistently moist is the best way to prevent problems. In the summer, that often means using a soaker hose to keep the soil from becoming too dry. In the fall, the problem is often too much water combined with improper drainage. As you make your inspection, look for standing water near the foundation and make modifications as necessary to fix the problem. In some cases, this can be as simple as adding more soil near the foundation to create a sufficient grade to allow water to flow away from the home. If the problem is more severe or persistent, you may need to consider having a French drain installed.
Foundation Maintenance Tip #3 – Check Your Rain Gutters
Leaky or obstructed rain gutters are a common cause of standing water near foundations. Be sure to remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your gutters this fall and that the ground beneath the downspouts provides enough of a grade to move the rainwater away from the foundation. If the grade is not sufficient to move the rainwater away from your foundation, you might consider installing a downspout extension. While you’re at it, you should install leaf guards to prevent future clogs.
Foundation Maintenance Tip #4 – Inspect Your Landscaping
Finally, you should check to make sure tree roots are not encroaching on your foundation. Mature trees can absorb as much as 150 gallons of water per day! That’s water that could otherwise serve to maintain the moisture of the soil around your home’s foundation. To prevent this problem, you should consider removing any trees that are near the foundation, or installing a root barrier to minimize the risk.
These simple foundation maintenance activities can help minimize the chances of damage to your home’s foundation. If you feel that your foundation may need repair, call Atlas Foundation Company at 817-478-1181 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation estimate.