Essential home care: Concrete foundation maintenance
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Caring for our homes is a lifelong job. And while a lot of aspects of home care, such as window maintenance or even HVAC maintenance, are easy to adhere to because we see them every day, a lot of us forget about our home’s foundation.
Concrete slab foundation problems could affect the structural integrity of our home, and if not detected and dealt with at an early stage, could cost thousands of dollars in repairs. We spoke to the experts and found out some foundation maintenance tips and tricks that homeowners can use to avoid these expenses.
Avoid tall trees
Large trees can suck up as much as 150 gallons of water a day from the soil in your garden. Having large trees in close proximity to your foundation will mean a lot of water as well. This water can damage the foundation in the long run. You must plant tall trees at least 10-15 feet away from the main structure.
It is always advisable to plant shrubbery shorter than three feet high around the foundation of your home. That way, the amount of water in the soil close to the foundation can be controlled and damage to the foundation walls can be avoided.
In addition, large trees also mean tree roots can grow towards and in some cases, through the foundation, causing irreversible damage. You may need to consider installing a root barrier to avoid this from happening.
While too much moisture can cause foundation damage, a complete lack of it can also cause it to crack. Because soil tends to expand and contract based on the moisture content, you will need to pay attention to make sure you maintain a consistent level of moisture.
If the summer months are dry where you live, you may want to install a lawn sprinkler or soakers a foot or so away from the foundation to wet it and avoid cracking.
If you live in a place with heavy rains, make sure the soil around the house is graded properly so the water flows away from the foundation and you don’t need to worry about water damage and flooding.
It is also important to make sure your drainage system and downspouts are also well maintained so rainwater flows away from the home.
Attend to minor cracks
Minor cracks, also called hairline cracks, are unavoidable, but also not really a major cause of foundation issues. These cracks can happen for a variety of reasons, including the house settling down into the soil beneath it. All you need to do to repair these cracks is clean them, fill them with an epoxy glue or concrete repair mix, and let them rest.
However, keep an eye on these cracks, and if they become worse, call in professional foundation contractors to address this. Large cracks are indicative of more serious problems with the foundation. Often, when homeowners try to quick-fix these using DIY methods, they tend to make the problems worse simply because they do not have the knowledge or the tools and materials to deal with them.
Indoor temperature control
Not too many people are aware of this, but keeping the temperature inside your home consistent is key to the health of your concrete foundation. Too many fluctuations in indoor temperature can cause expansion and contraction, damaging the concrete over time.
Foundation inspections at least twice a year should be an important part of your home upkeep checklist. Here are some pointers on how to inspect your concrete foundation.
- Walk around the foundation and look for telltale signs of damage.
- These signs include large cracks, sagging roofs, walls that seem to be buckling as well as door and window frames that are ill-fitting.
- If you notice anything out of the ordinary, immediately contact professionals for a more in-depth investigation. The sooner you detect and address these issues, the less it is likely to cost you in damages.
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It broke my heart when they had to cut down a beautiful oak near my house, but after seeing how a tree about to fall in a home can do damage, I resigned myself.