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March 30, 2023

Things Homeowners Do to Destroy Their Home's Foundation

A home’s foundation is one of the most important structures to take care of. Unfortunately, many homeowners aren’t aware of this, or even how to maintain their foundation. This lack of knowledge often leads them to make a number of blunders that can actually cause direct damage. Below, we review these common mistakes, and discuss how to avoid harming your own foundation.

Planting Trees & Bushes Too Close

What you plant and where you plant it has a big impact on your home’s risk of damage. Aside from falling trees or limbs, there can also be the threat of root systems growing straight into your foundation. Even in cases where the roots manage to grow underneath, they can still become large enough to cause foundation upheaval, or damage plumbing, which can have its own consequences for your foundation. 

So if you’re considering planting trees, or even large privacy hedges, keep the root radius in mind. Generally, it’s recommended to plant trees so that their foliage will remain at least 5 feet away from your home after reaching maturity. In the case of smaller shrubs, the recommendation is 3 feet. Following this rule also ensures that taller plantings will not be able to grow into your gutter lines, potentially creating yet another foundation hazard (more on that next).

Neglecting Gutter Systems

The way water drains off of your rooftop can have a big effect on how well your foundation holds up over time. If the soil around your foundation is allowed to become saturated, it will swell, creating excess pressure. Once that moisture dries out, the soil deflates, sometimes even washing away. This leaves your foundation with less support, creating the perfect conditions for foundation cracks and shifts.

Gutter systems play a key role in keeping water from falling down around the perimeter of your foundation. But if they aren’t regularly maintained, these drainage systems can easily become defective. They may start overflowing with debris, develop holes, become bent, or have their downspouts dislodged. In any of these scenarios, unkempt gutters won’t be able to direct water away.

A lack of gutter maintenance is one of the most avoidable causes of foundation issues, but we still see it time and time again. Making sure to do a twice-yearly check and clean of your gutter lines is always worth the effort, as it will save you an immense amount of money and hassle down the road.

Ignoring Landscaping Drainage

The shape of the terrain surrounding a home is another factor that profoundly affects drainage. If parts of the property slope down toward the home, water will begin to pool around the foundation.

But unless they’re particularly knowledgeable, many homeowners don’t realize that this is a problem. They may even contribute to it by creating their own landscaping features that send water running toward their home. Eventually, the problem will come to a head when the foundation starts to show signs of damage.

Therefore, it’s critical to assess the slopes of your landscaping, ensuring your home sits higher than the surrounding terrain. Parts of the land may need to be regraded, but there’s also the option to install French drains if this is not possible.

Postponing Plumbing Maintenance

Plumbing is often one of those things that isn’t thought of until a problem arises. This frequently takes the form of a big leak, or even a sewage backup in the yard. The trouble is that these issues are commonly long-term, only noticed when they reach disastrous proportions. And by that time, water will likely have been accumulating around the foundation, creating even more problems.

Hence, it’s essential to perform routine plumbing maintenance, including professional inspections that can catch problems early. If your home has a modern plumbing system, having it inspected every 2 years will suffice. But if you have an older home and the plumbing has yet to be updated, it’s best to do an inspection annually.

DIYing Home Renovations

When professionals construct a home, they do so by planning a structure that the foundation can comfortably support. The architecture will have the weight distributed evenly so that no part of the foundation is put under strain.

This balance can be disrupted when homeowners renovate without expert guidance. They may not plan their remodel with their foundation in mind, resulting in changes that cause structural stress. They may only realize their error when the foundation buckles under the new weight.

Such is a great example of why it’s necessary to consult a professional before you renovate. They can tell you if your plans will work with your foundation, and suggest alternative options if not.

Hiring the Wrong Contractors

Expertise really matters when it comes to performing any work on the home. While unlicensed handymen or contractors may be cheap, they can make mistakes that go on to cause foundation damage. This is applicable for renovations, flooring, plumbing, and even the original build.

Work must meet building codes in order to be stable, and there’s no guarantee that an unlicensed contractor will even be aware of what the codes are. They often don’t have the training to know what methods will result in the most structurally sound construction, nor how their work may contribute to stress on the foundation.

Therefore, it’s always worth doing your research and only hiring contractors who have the licensing and expertise to ensure reliable work. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that their work meets the right standards, and is even covered by warranty should anything go wrong.

Need Expert Help Repairing Your Foundation?

If you’ve noticed that your foundation has suffered damage, it’s critical to get the help of an expert in foundation solutions. Douglas offers comprehensive foundation repair services for homeowners who need help they can trust. We are foundation specialists offering proprietary solutions stronger and more durable than traditional foundations.

Our business is built on trust, which is why we guarantee you’ll receive a fair quote. We understand that foundation trouble is a huge point of worry, disrupting finances, landscaping, and your daily routine. This is why we always go the extra mile to make sure you’re receiving the best work at a great value, all done with the highest level of respect for the place you call home. You’re welcome to read our testimonials to learn more about the quality of service we provide our customers.

Contact us today to schedule your free evaluation. One of our experts will come out ASAP to give you the advice you need.