Spring in St. Louis, MO, is an exciting time. A lot of people go outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and gentle breeze. As you join the enthusiasts in their excursions, don’t forget to prepare your foundation for the wet months ahead. Your biggest concern should be the increased rainfall and high moisture levels. Both can affect your foundation and cause it to deteriorate.
Before we look at practical ways to protect this part of your home, it’s essential to know some of the problems that may occur when the foundation gets wet.
What Problems Arise from a Wet Foundation?
Most foundations in St. Louis, MO, are made of concrete, brick or stone. While they do a fairly good job of keeping the basement dry, water can still enter the basement during heavy downpours. Too much water around the foundation can cause the following problems:
- Foundation cracks: Ultimately, water can seep into the foundation and weaken walls, causing them to crack.
- Bowing walls: When the soil gets inundated with water, it expands and exerts pressure on the foundation, which can cause the walls to bow inward.
- Upward movements: Heaving occurs when waterlogged soil pushes the foundation upwards. This vertical shift can damage the floor and walls of your home.
- Mold growth: A wet foundation also can encourage mold to grow and take over your basement and home. Mold is dangerous as it releases toxic spores that trigger respiratory problems.
- Radon gas: Foundation cracks also create a passage for radon from the soil surrounding the basement. Over time, this gas can collect and become dangerous. Testing is required to detect its presence.
If you suspect your foundation has problems, call your local basement and foundation repair contractor. They will carry out an inspection and advise you on your next move.
How to Prevent Foundation Damage
Your #1 priority as a homeowner should be having a safe and stable home. This means putting a stop to water damage and making sure your home is structurally sound. Luckily, there are a number of cost-effective measures you can take in spring to lock out water and moisture.
- Fix cracks: Any foundation wall crack that’s larger than ¼” should be a cause of concern as it can expand and eventually let water to your foundation.
- Fix leaking pipes: Inspect pipes that run through your basement and around the perimeter of your home and fix any that are leaking.
- Limit watering: Since the soil in your yard is generally damper than other months, it’s best if you avoid watering the yard in spring. Excess moisture in the soil can cause saturation and some of the water may end up in your basement or foundation.
- Fix loose gutters: You can expect precipitation and rainfall in general to increase in the coming weeks. If the gutters and downspout extensions are loose or damaged, some of the rainwater could end up on your foundation and then leak inside.
- Cut overgrown trees: As much as trees beautify the yard, they can become a menace when their roots start attacking your foundation. Roots won’t penetrate the foundation walls but can cause soil shrinkage, which often results in cracks.
- Landscaping: Ensure the area surrounding your home slopes downward so it can help channel water away from the foundation wall. If this option isn’t viable, consider installing an external drainage system to keep the foundation water-free.
- Clear exterior drains: Inspect your footing drains and exterior French drains and clear any dirt or debris that has accumulated inside. Otherwise, they’re not going to channel water properly and this could cause your yard to flood and get soggy.
- Install a sump pump: If you have a basement, we strongly advise you to install a sump pump to stop water from collecting in your basement. Such water can seep through cracks and get to the foundation of your home.
Seasonal changes don’t mean foundation issues will ease up. It’s advisable that you prepare the foundation for seasonal changes especially the increasing precipitation. Get in touch if you’re not sure what steps or measures you should take.
We’re happy to carry out a free foundation inspection and make recommendations that’ll protect your foundation from water and the problems that come with it.