Your foundation is a lot like your eyesight. You don’t pay attention until you see a problem. When most home owners see a problem with their foundation, they usually react  one of two ways. They close their eyes and hope it will go away, or they panic. Unfortunately, the problem won’t go away; it will most likely get worse. However, you can  give yourself an edge, save time, anguish  and  money if you take a little time to maintain your foundation. You probably maintain your heating and cooling systems regularly to prevent costly repairs. So why not maintain your foundation?

HERE’S HOW. Twice a year, preferably in the early spring or fall after a heavy rain, examine the outside walls of your home’s foundation. Look for deteriorating mortar joints and repair that you may find.  These cracks may not be serious. Diagonal and stepped cracks usually result from settling.  A basement specialist can tell you what to do or not to do about these cracks.

Check all areas where outdoor ventilators, faucets, conduit and other items that penetrate the foundation, as well as such things as basement windows and siding or shingles that  make contact with the foundation. These areas must be sealed with caulk. If the caulking has deteriorated, scrape it away and recaulk.

Carefully check the bottom courses of siding or wood shingles as they are most  susceptible to water damage. Replace any that are cracked or rotted. Next check your shrubbery.  Trim  back  any shrubbery that is in contact with your siding or shingles.  Then clear out any debris in window wells.

Look for soil erosion around the foundation. Erosion indicates a drainage problem, which after time could weaken the foundation. Drainage problems could be caused by:  Faulty  gutters or downspouts, low-lying land, improperly sloped patios or walks, a high water table or grading problems. Except  for the improper slope, you can easily correct all of these drainage problems yourself. Call a mason or basement specialist for the improperly sloped patios or  walks.  A high water table is usually caused from excessive precipitation. If you live in an area where  this is prevalent, contact a basement specialist for the best remedy for you. Proper maintenance can save you money and give you peace of mind.

foundation maintenance
foundation maintenance

*Schematic courtesy of Carson Dunlop