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How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Foundation

The foundation of a home is the first part of a home built when one is constructing a home. If the foundation is not constructed correctly the integrity of the rest of the structure will be compromised and can lead to major issues and very costly repairs. Here are the reasons this happens and then tips to help prevent damage to your homes’ foundation.  Foundation list

Home owners primarily need to be able to control and limit the amount of water that can accumulate near the homes foundation. This can be done in several ways. The installation of a french drain system, proper grading of the soil and paved areas, and the proper use of gutters and downspouts.

The first method of protecting a foundation listed was the installation of a french drain system. This is better done at the time of construction when the area near the base of the foundation is still exposed. It basically consists of a drain line that will collect water and then direct that water away from the home to a lower level or to a storm drain. If planned at time of construction this is easier to do. After the home is built and a lower area of the yard is not readily available the water can be directed to a gravel filled pit in the ground in which the water will then be absorbed in to the soil at a location away from the foundation.

If the home is already constructed with the foundation base not easily accessible then then controlling rain runoff is the next best method for foundation protection. Even if a home is constructed with a drainage system near the foundation it is important to control rain.

Water weights approximately 8.5 pounds per gallon. An average rainfall can result in hundreds of pounds of water running down gutters and downspouts. Hundreds of pounds of weight pushing against your foundation can result in cracks,leaning and bowing. If the water pooled up against your foundation freezes the problems are worse. Water expands when it freezes so the pressure against your foundation is even greater.

To control water runoff from the roof every home should have gutters and downspouts installed. The important aspect of the gutter system that is often ignored and frequently found during  is that the downspouts do not direct the water away from the foundation far enough. Downspouts without proper extensions will focus runoff to specific parts of the foundation. Always have downspout extensions that take the water far from the foundation.

Related to downspout extensions for water control is the slope of the ground surface on the exterior of the home. This includes paved areas as well. It should slope down and away to help keep water from accumulating near the foundation.

With these tips you should be better informed on how to protect and maintain the foundation of your home.

Jim Troth is a full time home inspector in Ohio and the Education Coor

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