Not every issue with a building’s foundation is completely tied to rain. If you live in an area where other natural phenomena are prevalent, like earthquakes, foundation issues won’t be because of large amounts of rainfall. In some places, they’re happy to have rainfall at all.
In Michigan, though, we’re not lacking in the rain or the problems that come with it. What kind of issues? Flooding, shifting soil, and erosion, to name a few.
With lots of rain comes a lot of potential foundation problems. Even if there isn’t any flooding, a poor drainage system or inappropriately landscaped yard can lead to flooding in your basement, rotting parts of your structure in your crawl space, or worse, a sinking or severely damaged foundation.
Because rain is something we’re grateful to have but also have to live with, here are four common ways to prevent foundation damage and minimize foundation repair needs due to all that water falling from the sky.
1. Roof Drainage
When it comes to shoring up the protection of your foundation, many people think the last thing you should consider as a potential problem is your roof. Maybe not so much the roof itself, as far as its condition. That’s a whole different topic. Instead, we’re talking about roof drainage. Specifically, the conditions of your gutters and downspouts and how close they drain to your foundation.
Roofs provide a lot of surface area for the rain to hit and run down. If you’ve ever seen water coming off a roof during a big downpour and it either had clogged gutters or no gutters, it probably looked like a giant waterfall. A giant waterfall sends all that rainwater to the ground next to your foundation.
The same goes for downspouts. Even if your gutters are completely clean and free of debris, all that water is funneled to several downspouts. Those downspouts will get the water from the roof to the ground, but how far away from the foundation do they get it? Do they only shoot the water out a few inches? If so, how long does it take the water to collect around the foundation as a result?
A quick way to prevent damage to your foundation is to ensure you have good gutters, that they’re kept clean, and that your downspouts extend far away from your home so water doesn’t drain and collect right around your foundation.
2. Yard Drainage
Good yard drainage is an obvious recommendation, but not many people know how to look for issues with yard drainage. The key is looking for sodden or swampy parts around your home after a good rain storm. This includes flower beds or shallow areas around your immediate foundation or further into the yard.
With areas of wet soil around your home, you may want to consider putting in gravel or more plants. Both can act as a natural way to divert water away from your foundation. But be careful with choosing plants. You don’t want to pick any that may have roots that could potentially interfere with your foundation.
For more severe drainage issues in your yard, you may need to consider installing a French drain system or something similar.
3. Landscaping and grading
When you’re inspecting your yard for potential drainage issues, you should also be looking to identify areas that may need landscaping and regrading. These areas usually include bare spots that could benefit from new grass or plants. Or if you have land that slopes or can funnel water toward your home, simple regarding could be an easy solution to solve water issues around your home.
4. Basement and Crawl Space Moisture Control
If you have leaking basement walls or standing water in your basement or crawl space, then you obviously need to figure out why. Water damage can cause mold, rot, and mildew, which can lead to serious structural problems. Examining your exterior problem areas like your roof drainage, yard drainage, and landscape grading are the first steps you can take to correct issues inside your home.
After that, you may need to have professionals like those at Bluebird CFW come and provide a free inspection. We’ll be able to determine if you already have foundation problems and what can be done to correct them, including waterproofing and encapsulating a crawl space or installing a drainage system in your basement.
If you have any concerns about your foundation or foundation repair or want to discuss other ways you can help prevent foundation damage, contact us today. We at Bluebird CFW are ready to help!