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How to Keep Your Foundation Leak-Free This Winter

Foundation leaks are problematic – especially during the winter. Here’s how to spot leaks and get them fixed effectively.

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The weather seems to be getting more and more extreme every year; by the time mid-December rolls around, Washington D.C., can see heavy snow and sudden thaws in the same week. This makes taking care of your property’s foundation a little more complicated than usual. Obviously, extreme weather conditions can be damaging to your property in general, but repeated snap freezes and thaws are particularly troublesome. 

protect home from winter leaks

Recognizing Damage to Your Foundation 

There are many signs of damage that you can and should be on the lookout for when it comes to protecting your property. The most common signs of damage to a property’s foundation are: 

  • Cracking walls 
  • Cracked or uneven flooring 
  • Dampness and humidity 
  • Mold and mildew 
  • Sticking doors or windows 
  • Gaps between the ceiling and floor 

These are all signs that your foundation has suffered some kind of damage. These issues, however, can cause further damage in and of themselves and will become progressively worse as the underlying causes mix with the new damage. The most common causes of foundation damage and leaks are: 

  • Soil saturation 
  • Soil dehydration 
  • Frost heave 
  • Tree root invasion 

Each of these issues is quite severe, which is why it is important to book a professional inspection if you notice signs of damage. Of course, it would be far better to avoid damage in the first place, which is why you should take preventative measures where you can. 

Preventing Mid-Winter Foundation Leaks 

When it comes to repairing a damaged foundation, there isn’t really anything you can do without professional help, but preventing damage is much easier. It’s mostly about how you take care of your home. These simple steps will help you to protect your foundation and home from damage and pesky mid-winter leaks: 

Clean Out Your Gutters 

The gutters and downspouts that surround your home are incredibly important to its health. Taking the time to clear away debris and buildup will ensure that water does not back up onto your roof or spill over to pool by your foundation. However, due to the likelihood of freezing in winter, it is also best to put your downspouts up. 

Maintain Your Yard 

Remove leaves and debris from your yard to prevent the formation of wells and organic sludge, which can attract pests and act as a hotspot for soil saturation come the spring thaw. Well-prepared homeowners can also calibrate the flora in their yard to control the moisture in the soil and prevent excessive expansion and erosion. 

Prepare Basement or Crawl Space Drainage Systems 

If you have independent drainage systems in your basement or crawl space it is important that you clear away dirt and debris to ensure that they function at full capacity no matter how cold it gets. This is especially important if you have a crawl space as these drainage systems are more exposed. 

Pile Snow Away from Your Property 

When the snow does fall, you should add the property perimeter to your usual shoveling route. Piling snow away from the perimeter of your property will prevent water and ice from pooling by your foundation when sudden temperature changes cause a thaw. 

Professional Foundation Protection  

As well as these simple, protective measures you can undertake professional waterproofing to keep your foundation undamaged this winter. Hiring a professional to assess and protect your home has many benefits, of course, but the most pressing is the safety of your home. 

Sump Pump Installation 

Most homes in Washington, D.C., with a basement will already have a sump pump in place, but these appliances, no matter how high quality, have a lifespan. So, whether you need a sump pump installed, or you wish to upgrade your current system, this is a sensible step that will prevent foundation damage by minimizing standing water and dampness. 

Insulation 

Installing insulation is a great way to protect your home, particularly in your basement or crawl space and around any pipes which are exposed to the elements. This simple yet effective task can prevent burst pipes and foundation damage. 

Interior Drain Installation 

If you do not already have drains in your basement or crawl space, installing some could make all the difference when it comes to protecting your foundation. Installing interior drains to prevent water from pooling anywhere near your foundation is key to minimizing the likelihood of frost heave, for example. 

Choose JES Foundation Repair 

If you want to undertake professional waterproofing work, JES Foundation Repair should be your first choice. We are experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate about our work. After requesting a free inspection, our expert team will complete a thorough evaluation of your home, recommend the best repair solutions, and outline these the cost in a free repair quote.

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