To say that the foundation is one of, if not the most important part of a house is quite the understatement. After all, the foundation is literally what a house will be built on, the rock on which a house will be support and for potential home builders, a foundation accounts for at least 8 to 15% of the total cost of building a home.
For any homeowner, you’re looking for a foundation to perform under pressure. That means you want your foundation is support your housing structure, keep out groundwater and act as a barrier between soil vapor and water.
When it comes to home foundations there are three main types: crawl spaces, slabs and full basements. Which foundation you ultimately choose for your home usually comes down to what you can afford and what kind of foundation you’re looking for.
Slab foundations don’t require a lot of prep work to begin building and for home builders they’re a popular choice because they don’t cost much. Slab foundations are created by essentially pouring in concrete footers and then installing several layers of concrete block. Once that’s done, you install internal piping for your home and rock filler before putting on a top layer of concrete.
It’s true that slab foundations are cost-effective, but you may encounter some slab foundation repair since your piping will be buried and inclement weather can also damage your home and your foundation.
If you’re a homeowner, you have a lot to keep track of when it comes to maintaining your home. With all that you have to maintain, it can be easy to overlook your home’s foundation and you may think that once it’s installed, there’s very little to worry about. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Foundations tend to settle over time and even the foundation of the newest of houses can shift with time. Ignoring your foundation can lead to a costly slab foundation repair or multiple repairs that could end up costing you a lot of money.
So what can do? The simple answer is to do foundation maintenance to avoid major problems. What does that entail? Here are four essential tips for maintaining your home’s foundation:
- Check the plumbing: One of the most important things you can do to avoid a costly slab foundation repair is to conduct regular inspections of your plumbing system. At a minimum, you should be doing this once a year. Be sure you’re checking both the inside and the outside of your home. The last thing you want is to find a hidden leak and be in a situation where major repairs are needed. You’ll want to look for low pressure in faucets, pooling water, mold and other obvious signs.
- Fill cracks: If you ever see cracks in your foundation or anywhere in or around your home, address them immediately. Minor cracks usually aren’t a problem, but you don’t want those minor cracks getting any bigger. Try and clean the area where cracks are forming and then use an epoxy glue or some other substance to close up the gap. Keep an eye on cracks and don’t hesitate to contact a foundation contractor if any problems arise.
- Be smart about landscaping: There’s nothing quite like beautifying your home by doing some landscaping, but doing it wrong can affect your home’s foundation. Shrubs and tree roots around the foundation can erode your foundation’s walls and can cause severe soil issues which can lead to foundation failure. So don’t plant anything too close to your home.
- Check your drainage: When it comes to the foundation, water damage can spell disaster. This usually happens when the soil around the foundation doesn’t accept or get of moisture in a regular cycle. This causes foundation shift. When that soil is dry, you can use a hose to water the area around the foundation. When it’s too wet, check on your gutters and make sure you have ways to redirect water from your home.
By following these steps and doing biannual foundation inspections, you can avoid costly slab foundation repairs. If you have issues, foundation repair contractors can repair your home’s foundation to make it as strong as ever.