Being a homeowner is a lot of work. After everything you put into your home, the last thing you want to see is your labor of love undermined by foundation erosion. Fortunately there are a few simple precautions you can take to protect your home’s structural integrity.
What is erosion?
Erosion is when earth is washed from higher ground to lower ground. It’s the same force that carved out the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, you’ve got a problem if Mother Nature is determined to carve out a canyon right under your house. This is called foundation erosion, and it usually occurs when rainwater from a home’s roof isn’t being properly directed away from the foundation by rain gutters. The water falls around the foundation, taking the ground beneath with it. This leaves the concrete slab your home is built on unstable and prone to cracking and other issues.
How do I stop foundation erosion?
- Clean your rain gutters: When a rain gutter is clogged with debris, water is unable to flow freely through it. The water backs up until eventually pours over the edges of the gutter, saturating the ground around the foundation and causing erosion. Regularly cleaning leaves, sticks, and other waste out your gutters can keep them operating smoothly. And what if you don’t have rain gutters? You are asking for foundation problems. Contact a reputable roofer for a quote right away.
- Direct your downspout away from your home: If your downspout is pouring water from your roof directly around your foundation, it is failing to do its job. Likewise, if the ground around your downspout is sloped such that water pools back around the base of your home, you may experience foundation erosion. Be sure that roof water from the downspout is properly directed away from your home. If it’s not, you can extend the downspout so that the water exits at a better spot or attach a rain barrel to your downspout to catch water for watering plants later.
- Do some gardening: Some plants do wonders combating erosion. Their roots dig in and hold soil together, thus lending stability to otherwise vulnerable ground. Grasses work well for preventing surface erosion, and more deep-rooted plants can offer stability to larger clumps of soil. While it is still important that you prevent water from pooling around your foundation, strategically placed plants can definitely help to increase soil’s resistance to erosion.
- Plan ahead: The best thing to prevent foundation erosion is to avoid it to begin with. If you are building a home, be sure that the lot is properly drained. Talk to your roofing contractor about how roof water will be directed and where downspouts will be placed. A little pre-planning in this stage can prevent a big pain down the road.
With all the work you’ve invested into your home, you really can’t afford to see it threatened by a highly preventable problem like soil erosion. If you have already noticed or suspect that your home has a problem with foundation erosion, call a professional. Remember that everything you do to protect your home now could save you lots of trouble and thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.