What type of maintenance is required for a foundation?

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As a home or building owner, you know the importance of maintaining the different aspects of your property. One area you might not be thinking about is your foundation. Like many of us, you may not be aware of the importance of foundation maintenance, until you spot a problem with your foundation. Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent or avoid future damage.

Tips for maintaining your specific foundation

In order to reduce your risk of incurring costly repairs, you should follow the techniques listed below to ensure your foundation is properly maintained, both inside and outside your property.

Concrete Slab Foundation

  • Drainage
    • Regularly inspect the drainage slope, especially after a rainstorm, to ensure no water is pooling around the foundation.
    • Check to see that the original soil slope is still intact, and has a minimum grade or slope of 5% (i.e., 6 inches every 10 feet). Over time, due to changes in the environment or seismic activity, the slope can decrease or even out.
  • Gutters
    • Regularly inspect your gutters and gutter exits to make sure they are not only removing excess water, but also removing it at the proper distance away from the building.
  • Trees & other Shrubbery
    • Regularly inspect the root system of the trees surrounding your home or office. You want to make sure they are not growing under or into the foundation. A root barrier may help prevent this, but it is not always a guarantee.
    • Keep your trees properly watered so they don’t pull too much moisture away from the rest of the landscaping around you structure.
    • Be sure to keep your landscape properly groomed and trimmed so that it isn’t touching the root or other parts of your structure.
  • Watering
    • Regularly inspect your sprinkler system to ensure water is being equally distributed around your home or office. Maintaining proper moisture levels around your foundation is essential to keep it from shifting or moving.

Pier Foundation

  • Drainage
    • Regularly inspect the slop of your sidewalks, patio, etc. to ensure no water is pooling, and that the original slope has not leveled out.
    • If necessary, you can have trench drains installed to prevent flooding or excess moisture from reaching your foundation.
  • Windows, Doors & Ceilings
    • Regularly inspect the windows and doors to make sure they shut properly.
    • Check the ceiling, especially above doors, windows, and the shower for any signs of cracks that might be an indication of water damage or movement of your foundation.
  • Crawl Space
    • Check your crawl space every six months for any signs of shifting or movement, especially on the pier.
  • Gutters
    • Regularly inspect your gutters and gutter exit’s to make sure they are not only removing excess water, but also removing it at least five feet from the building.
  • Landscaping
    • Regularly inspect any gardens or landscaping that is planted around your home or building to make sure they are draining properly, and that no excess moisture is accumulating.
    • Check the root systems of your trees and plants to ensure they are short, not absorbing too much water, or growing under or into the foundation.

Crawl Space Foundation

  • Drainage
    • Regularly inspect the drainage slope, especially after a rainstorm, to ensure no water is pooling around the foundation.
    • Check to see that the original soil slope is still intact, and has a minimum grade or slope of six feet or more.
  • Gutters
    • Regularly inspect your gutters and gutter exits to make sure they are not only removing excess water, but also removing it at least five feet from the building.
  • Vapor Barrier
    • Regularly inspect your vapor barrier to make sure the seal is still intact, and that the polyethylene vapor retarder is at least 6 millimeter’s thick.
  • Radon Testing
    • Test your home for radon, a cancer-causing gas, at least once a year. The best time to do so is in the winter when the changes in the air pressure can bring more radon in your home or business.
  • Ventilation
    • Regularly check the ventilation system in your crawl space to ensure excess moisture is being removed. Not only can this moisture cause mold, but also is a great breeding ground for bugs, such as termites. Additionally, excess moisture can cause damage to your foundation over time.

Basement Foundation

  • Drainage & Grading
    • Regularly inspect the drainage slop, especially after a rainstorm, to ensure no water is pooling around the foundation.
    • Check to see that the original soil slope is still in tact, and has a minimum grade or slope of six feet or more.
  • Ventilation
    • Regularly check the ventilation system in your basement to ensure excess moisture is being removed. Not only can this moisture cause mold, but also is a great breeding ground for bugs, such as termites. Additionally, excess moisture can cause damage to your foundation over time.
  • Gutters
    • Regularly inspect your gutters and gutter exit’s to make sure they are not only removing excess water, but also removing it at the proper distance away from the building.
  • Trees & other Shrubbery
    • Regularly inspect the root system of the trees surrounding your home or office. You want to make sure they are not growing under or into the foundation. A root barrier may help prevent this, but it is not always a guarantee.
    • Keep your trees properly watered so they don’t pull too much moisture away from the rest of the landscaping around you structure.
    • Be sure to keep your landscape properly groomed and trimmed so that it isn’t touching the root or other parts of your structure.