Fall Foundation Checklist
Have you ever created a fall foundation checklist? While you’re out enjoying the cooler weather and raking your leaves, don’t forget to take a few steps to get your foundation ready for winter.
In any event, it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared before any foundation problem arises.
Check the Grade Around Your Home
First, check the grade surrounding your home. Make sure that the soil slopes away from your home. Ideally, it should be one inch per foot for the distance of eight feet from your foundation. But if that’s not possible, a gentle slope will help drain water away from your foundation. When you’re installing the slope, make sure to press the dirt down. This will help minimize the amount of dirt running off with the water. In particular, never use sand or mulch to create the slope. These will just allow water to quickly seep through to your foundation, wasting your money and causing more problems.
Check Plumbing, Drains and AC Unit
Second, make sure there are no leaky exterior faucets. Consequently, that gradual drip could end up causing settlement in the area of the leak. Also, make sure that all downspouts and the AC drain point away from your foundation. Any drainage lines should extend at least six feet away from your foundation.
Seal Your Crawl Space
If your home is built on a crawl space, seal it up! Therefore, close all vents and shut crawl space doors. In fact, the best way to protect your home is to seal your crawl space. To clarify, you can help minimize any damage from snow or water by closing up all entrances. Check to see if your floors are sloping by taking using a laser level. Set it on the floor of the main level, pointing toward the walls. Additionally, measure the difference between the laser line and the floor on one side of the room and compare it to the distance between the laser line and the floor on the opposite side of the room. Make a note of any differences on your sketch.
Large trees and shrubs can damage your foundation. The rule of thumb is that a plant’s root system extends at least as far as the canopy. So, if you have a large tree with limbs extending over your home, the roots are growing under your home.
In general, plants suck up the extra moisture in the soil, which can cause settlement problems. Since the plants are ready to go dormant for the winter, fall is the perfect time to trim limbs and roots.
If you’re unable to trim any of the roots, think about installing a drip watering system to keep the foundation moist during long, dry periods. Furthermore, this will help minimize shrinkage and settlement. If you decide to install a system or water your foundation, the soil only needs to be damp. With this in mind, do not over saturate or flood the soil. That will only create more problems.
These steps should be key items on your fall foundation checklist. If you find any brick cracks, cracks in the concrete or areas where your foundation is sinking, give us a call. We’re happy to take a look and let you know if you have a foundation problem.
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~By Jesse Waltz, Professional Engineer
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