Maintaining your home’s foundation is extremely important. It’s much easier and less expensive to maintain it than to repair problems with it. Today, we’ll help you understand the basics of your foundation, why waterproofing it is so important, and how to proper maintenance for your home’s foundation.
The basics of your home’s foundation
Your home’s foundation supports the weight of the structure, provides a flat and level surface for building, and keeps wood-based construction materials off of the ground (which prevents rotting and other issues).
Poured concrete foundations are one of the most popular varieties, especially when a home has a basement. This type of foundation is common throughout North America and includes:
- Concrete footing
- A concrete floor slab
- A foundation wall (poured concrete or concrete masonry units are the norm)
Every foundation also includes various waterproofing measures. Water is the last thing you want in or near your foundation or home. It’s likely that your home came installed with waterproofing material within exterior, ground-facing walls. Your home also likely has a perforated perimeter drain to direct water away from the foundation.
Finally, your home likely has a polyethylene vapor barrier that sits between the concrete floor slab and the ground. Additionally, the grade of the surrounding soil will slope away from the home to allow water to drain away from the foundation.
Maintenance tips for your home’s foundation
Now that you know the basics of home foundations, you likely want to know how you can prevent problems. After all, foundation repair is often difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Here are some tips to help you maintain the foundation of your house:
- Maintain your gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts are home features that keeps your foundation free of water. Check them regularly to ensure water is draining away from the home. Ideally, your gutters will drain water at least 10 feet away from your foundation. If they don’t, consider extenders. For specific gutter-maintenance tips, read our article.
- Look out for puddles. Puddles near your foundation are an early sign of foundation problems, especially after heavy precipitation. If you see puddles forming near your foundation after a heavy rain or snowmelt, contact a professional immediately. There may still be time to fix the issue before it becomes a real problem.
- Watch out for cracks. Not all cracks are bad news for your foundation, but some are. Cracks are more likely to be a problem if you’re also experiencing inoperable doors and windows, or excessively sloping floors and surfaces. Cracks in basement walls could also indicate issues, especially if they’re horizontal and accompanied by bowing or leaning in the wall.
- Inspect your plumbing every year. Leaking sprinkler systems and sewer lines can lead to water damage. It’s a smart move to have them inspected each year.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.