BY JESSICA BARKER, ARCH FOUNDATION REPAIR AND MEMBER, CCAR’S AFFILIATE COMMITTEE
Happy Spring! As warm weather moves into North Texas, it is important that your clients understand the essentials required to maintain a home’s foundation. Here are 10 tips to keep their foundation in good shape:
1. Make sure that the soil around the foundation is graded so that water flows away from it. The soil should drop 4–6 inches, every 4–6 feet.
2. Avoid trapping water against the foundation. Water can be trapped against the building by sidewalks, raised flower beds, metal edging or other borders that do not have openings to allow water to escape.
3. Place soaker hoses around the foundation to keep soil damp during dry periods. Soaker hoses should be placed 6–12 inches away from the home. In addition, hoses should be replaced every couple of years.
4. Keep the majority of shrubs around the house under 3-feet tall. Large plants need large amounts of water, which can cause foundation problems.
5. If there are large trees around the house, consider installing root barriers to keep them from pulling water out from under the foundation.
6. Use downspout extensions or splash blocks on all down spouts to move excess rain water away from the foundation.
7. Make sure that all paved surfaces that border the foundation slope away from it—this is particularly important for pool decks.
8. Keep the soil around the foundation between 2–4 inches below the brick line or edge of a house’s siding. The soil helps to hold the water in the ground and reduces seasonal settlement.
9. If the sewer becomes blocked or backed up, have it tested for leaks. Many times, sewer blockages are caused by roots, which mean there are openings in the sewer.
10. Leaking sprinkler lines and pool circulating systems cause foundation problems. Have the systems tested for leaks every 2–3 years.