While it is almost never seen, your property’s foundation is one of the most important parts of your home. When it is in peak condition, there’s no need to think about it, but when something goes wrong, it can put the stability and health of your entire home in jeopardy. The most common cause of damage to property foundations across Washington, D.C., is water. Water damage is not only common, but also insidious, dangerous, and often grows at an exponential rate if left unchecked.
Interior Signs of Water Damage
Learning to recognize the signs of water damage, particularly early water damage, is important if you want to minimize the impact that it has. However, the signs of water damage to your foundation may not be what you expect. If your basement regularly floods, for example, this is not always a sign of water damage to your foundation. In fact, regular flooding is more likely to be a cause of water damage to your foundation than a symptom of it.
The most common and firm signs of water damage in your foundation are:
- Cracks in your basement floor
- Cracked or bowing walls
- Sinking or uneven floors
- Mold and mildew formation
- Musty, lingering odors
It should be noted that mold and mildew formation and bad smells are symptoms of dampness in general rather than foundation damage specifically. Likewise, damp basements are more likely to attract pests like rodents, cockroaches, and spiders; these infestations are co-occurring issues rather than mutually inclusive signs. If you notice these issues, you should also look for spreading cracks, sagging sections of the floor, or buckling walls.
One particularly strong sign that can only really be seen from the outside of a property is subsidence. When a property starts to sink, this is a sure sign that there is some kind of structural damage at play (alongside issues with the competence of the soil below your foundation). In order to see if your house is beginning to sink, you should stand as far back from it as you safely can (either at the end of your driveway or on the other side of the street). If it seems slightly uneven, this could be a sign of quickly progressing subsidence.
Preventing or Repairing Water Damage
In truth, there is very little you can do to repair water damage to your foundation without professional help. Foundation repair is a very complicated and dangerous process that can cause more damage if it goes wrong. As such, calling a professional in to assess your home should be the first step you take if you notice any signs of water damage to your property foundation. JES Foundation Repair offers free inspections to homeowners in the Washington, D.C., metro area. These appointments come with no obligation to book repairs, so there’s no reason to delay.
The best thing for you and your home, of course, is to prevent water damage to your property in the first place. Preventing water damage to your foundation is, unsurprisingly, all about moisture management. The key is to take steps to prevent excessive soil saturation or dehydration, to avoid large amounts of water pooling by your property perimeter (especially in winter), and to ensure water is removed from your basement quickly when it does enter.
There are three key steps you can take to protect your property. These are:
Proper grading and planting can go a long way when it comes to keeping your property safe from water damage. Grading your yard to angle water away from your property perimeter and placing the right mix of seasonal flowers and bushes will minimize the water that makes it to your foundation. The right mix of plants will also form complex root systems that prevent excessive soil movement or erosion.
Proper Drainage Systems
Whether it be ground-level drains or your rooftop gutter systems, successfully collecting and diverting water from your property is one of the best things you can do to stave off water damage to your foundation. Make sure that your gutters, drains, and downspouts are clean, well maintained, and properly placed.
Having a well-maintained basement waterproofing system that includes interior drainage, a sump pump, and a dehumidifier will help prevent water damage to the inside of your property. When you add these interior measures to the external protections, you will seriously reduce the chances of your foundation experiencing water damage.
Call the Professionals for Tailored Solutions
If you have concerns about the health of your property, do not hesitate to contact JES Foundation Repair to book an assessment. Our team will identify any damage and present a tailored solution that works for you and your property.