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mulch near the foundation

Wood Mulch Near House is Bad News for Your Basement

Wood mulch is a magnet that attracts destructive termites and retains water which can cause moisture problems in the long run.

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mulch near the foundation

When the basement gets wet, it’s easy to point fingers at the common culprits. Leaky pipes, ventilation, underground water, and faulty gutters often take the lion’s share of the blame. But do you know what impact the wood mulch near your home has on your basement? 

Whether you’re piling up the mulch before you move it to a new location or holding it there as you decide what to do with it, wood mulch can encourage termites and water in the basement. Read on to learn more about mulch and what effect it has on the health of your basement in Richmond, VA. 

Termites in Mulch 

A lot of people use mulch around the flowerbeds and landscape to either replenish nutrients or curb soil erosion as well as insulate plant roots. Depending on how long the mulch has stayed in your yard, you may find termites breeding on these organic materials. 

Termites usually feed on cellulose in paper and wood. Mulch provides shelter against harsh outdoor weather. Layers of organic material trap heat, and this makes mulch an inviting habitat. 

Though they live underground, they need moisture to survive. If they find moist mulch, they will consume it. The problem occurs when these insects get inside the basement. And the most likely route is the wood that’s in direct contact with soil. 

Working their way slowly, termites will consume the timber and by the time they’re getting into your home, they’ll have caused significant damage. To prevent termites from invading your home, ensure the mulch doesn’t touch the exterior of your home specifically door frames and siding. 

Keep wood mulch six inches from the foundation or perimeter of your home. Close up the space between the exterior walls and flowerbeds using gravel. By doing so, you’ll make it harder for termites to invade your home while keeping an eye out for their mud tubes. 

Mulch holding water 

While termites are definitely a worrisome issue, they’re not as big a concern as the water that collects in the mulch. Many neighborhoods receive above-average rainfall in summer. This water can seep into your basement through cracks, causing mustiness and even mold growth. Make sure your foundation is in good shape and the interior of the basement has been waterproofed 

Don’t let mulch linger longer than it’s necessary as it can cause summer moisture to go over the roof. Get in touch with basement waterproofing experts from JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and quote. We’ll tell you what’s ailing your basement and recommend a lasting fix to perennial moisture issues. 

Resolving Basement Moisture in Your Home 

Assuming your basement has become wet because of the mulch near your home, the first thing you’d want to do is move the mulch and drain away from any water that sits below it. Next, get a dehumidifier and use it to dry out the basement. If you can get the humidity to 50% or lower, you’re good. Ask your local basement waterproofing contractor to help you with the sizing. 

There are other eco-friendly ways to keep you home dry and property intact. 

Grading your lawn also ensures water drains away properly. The slope should trend away from your home and channel run-off toward a storm sewer, alleyway, or nearby street. If your landscape is level, water may collect on your lawn faster than it drains. 

Have gutters? Unclog them. Your gutters are supposed to direct water away from the foundation. But they won’t be able to that if they’re blocked by twigs, leaves, or gunk. Whenever it rains, water will collect and worsen the already wet conditions instigated by the wood mulch. Also make sure your downspouts are angled down and away from your home’s foundation and are properly functioning in the ground. 

As previously mentioned, consider getting a dehumidifier or even installing other ventilation systems. A dehumidifier will suck moisture from the air while an air conditioner will encourage airflow, preventing moisture build-up. Your options include connecting the HVAC system to your basement or setting up a separate mini-split air conditioning unit. 

If you have concerns about termites or need help waterproofing your basement, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at JES Foundation Repair. We provide fast and hassle-free inspections and quotes to homeowners in Richmond, VA. 

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