How to Prevent Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation
As every homeowner inevitably experiences at one time or another, maintenance issues will crop up. Perhaps it’s a cracked roof tile, a gap in a window frame, a peeling paint job or a termite infestation. Large or small, difficult or simple, home improvement tasks will appear practically every single year you own your home. Some people let these things slide until they become large issues, and then call in the professionals. Others spend months putting together a toolkit and a workstation, and turn into DIY home improvement contractors on weekends. But the one thing you never want to see as a homeowner is cracks in your house’s foundation. As concrete is the primary material used to create foundations and concrete is a porous substance, any amount of absorbed water can lead to cracks. Allow this to degrade, and damage to your home’s interior might be the result. Here are some tips to help you prevent cracks in your home’s foundation.
First of all, consider installing new gutters. This is even more crucial in areas where the ground is rich in clay. As it rains, the clay in the soil swells up, which over time can literally shift your home’s foundation. As the ground dries and the house settles, cracks will appear in the concrete. Whether you live in an arid area or a wet, humid climate, installing new gutters can help. Call in the experts if you don’t feel comfortable handling this, but with a steady ladder and an extra pair of hands you should be able to add this job to your DIY home improvement resume. Just make sure that each gutter has a downspout connected to the end, which then dump into tubes. Those tubes should move the water five feet or more from the foundation of your home.
Another fairly easy fix is to simply seal the cracks in the concrete. Remember, water naturally invades the capillary spaces in your concrete foundation. If the temperature plummets below the freezing mark, the water will expand as ice and crack the concrete. You should be able to find a good concrete sealant in most hardware stores. It’s easy to apply, and will seal any existing cracks to insure they don’t get worse. You’ll also be waterproofing the concrete at the same time, minimizing the chances of future cracks and shifts in the foundation.
Keep in mind that the area directly around the foundation has as much a part in creating cracks as the nature of the foundation itself. It’s all about reducing the excess or standing water that has the chance to pool around your home. If you have a garden, shrubs or plants right up against the side of your house you might want to consider moving them. A relocation of three to eight feet will help avoid water seeping into your foundation when you water your landscaping.
Finally, to avoid having to make that costly call to the trusty concrete foundation repair in Houston Texas, look over the other choices you’ve made in the layout of your property. Does the driveway, patio or front walk slope in towards your foundation? These flat surfaces will act as aqueducts, funneling water buildup from a heavy rain right into the side of your home. You might not notice any leak, but this will increase the prevalence of cracks in your home’s foundation. Consider a new paving job or even bringing in new earth and redoing the layout if you notice a slope in the wrong direction.