This summer’s extreme heat is wreaking havoc on home foundations and concrete slabs all over the Country. Untreated structural problems can devastate property values – often lowering them by as much as $10,000 to $20,000 (not to mention the costly repairs). And, foundation problems often lead to interior damage as well as damage to pipes and plumbing, both above and below ground.
Structural Problem Warning Signs:
- Gaps between bricks & door & window frames
- Doors & windows sticking, hard to open
- Sheetrock cracks over interior doors or windows
- Cracks in ceramic tile or fireplace boxes or fronts
- Stress cracks in exterior bricks or siding
- Water leakage, inside or outside
“Preventative medicine”, i.e., foundation maintenance, can “help keep the ‘Foundation Dr.’ away.” Here are some helpful tips for preventing damage to your home’s foundation:
- Keep the soil around the entire foundation at a constant moisture level. Most soil has a tremendous capacity to absorb (and lose) water. This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab which is resting on top of the soil. Keeping the soil around the house at a constant moisture level, regardless of outdoor temperatures is key to foundation maintenance.
- Inspect the foundation perimeter for cracks several times a year. Cracks that appear to be growing warrant inspection by a foundation professional.
- Allow for root growth when planting bushes and trees. Roots growing under foundations are potential problem makers.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy. It may cover some foundation or plumbing repairs.
- Provide proper water drainage, both current and future, away from the slab.
- Eliminate any standing water and fill in low spots or holes on the property.
- Flowerbeds should be maintained so that the slab is at least three or four inches above ground. This will prevent water from seeping in through weep holes or brick veneer walls, or under siding.
- Homes should not be allowed to go for a substantial period without being heated or cooled. Eliminating major temperature variations can reduce the slab’s potential for expansion and contraction, which in turn can cause foundation damage.
Inspect your property on a regular basis. Attend to noticeable structural damage as soon as possible to minimize the damage and cost of repairs.