The foundations of our homes impact every aspect of their structure. And hot summer months in Richmond, Virginia, can take a toll on our home’s foundation if we have not prepared properly for the heat. Today, we will look at common mistakes homeowners make that lead to costly foundation repairs—and how to avoid them. Prevent these mistakes, and you will be well on your way to keeping your foundation stable.
1. Ignoring the warning signs that a foundation problem exists
The biggest mistake homeowners make that lead to costly foundation repairs is ignoring the warning signs that a foundation problem exists. There are simple things we can be on the lookout for which indicate the need to address a problem. The longer a foundation problem exists, the more costly the repairs. But if we regularly inspect our homes for the following, we can detect problems when they arise. Early detection and prompt handling of problems decreases the likelihood of expensive foundation repairs.
There are several signs we can inspect for, which indicate problems in our home’s foundation.
- Cracks in exterior bricks
- Ceiling gaps
- Floor fractures
- Uneven floors
- Doors that don’t close properly
- Crooked doorways
- Mold in crawl spaces
- Cabinets that don’t hang properly
- Gaps around windows and doors
- Chimney cracks and sagging floors
- Fireplaces that separate from the ceiling
2. Delaying foundation repairs once you spot them
Keep in mind that foundation repair costs increase as foundation problems increase. Homeowners who delay taking action often experience a decrease in their property value. And foundation damage can lead to hazardous conditions like uneven floors. Learn from the mistakes of others, and promptly repair foundation problems at the onset.
3. Failing to inspect your home for foundation repair issues
Nobody cares about the condition of your home like you do, so take the time to regularly inspect your walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, and outdoor bricks for signs of needed foundation repair. Just as you systematically change your home’s air filters, systematically check your home for indications of damage in order to keep foundation repair costs to a minimum—or even eliminate them altogether! It’s certainly worth the time invested inspecting your home to keep your costs down.
4. Failing to install and maintain a good gutter system
The purpose of a good gutter system is to move water off the roof and away from the home’s foundation. The oversupply of water—which occurs when it rains—as well as the lack of water—which occurs during the heat of summer—are key contributors to foundation problem. If homeowners can keep the moisture content around their foundation consistent, they can minimize the possibility of costly foundation repairs. In order to keep moisture content consistent, water needs to be channeled away from the home when it rains.
5. Failing to properly drain water away from the home
Proper drainage of water away from your home is a critical facet of maintaining foundational integrity. When flowerbeds are adjacent to your home, be sure they are sloped so they don’t trap water next to your home and cause trouble with your foundation. Also, remember to maintain your drainage systems to verify they are working as they were designed to work. When functioning properly, drainage systems aid in stabilizing the soil’s moisture and prevent foundation problems.
6. Failing to water the foundation
When the heat of summer invades, it’s critical to keep the foundation of our home consistent. Summer heat calls for steady watering so that soil levels remain consistent. A sprinkler system that includes adding moisture to our foundation prevents soil from shrinking around the foundation, and therefore prevents costly foundation repairs.
7. Planting trees and shrubs too close to the home’s foundation
The roots of trees and shrubs compete with our soil for water during dry seasons, and this causes our home’s foundation to settle and sink—often unevenly. Unfortunately, the settling can crack drywall, and our windows and doors can become difficult to open. Avoid the common mistake of planting trees and shrubs too close to one’s home. Understand that if the branches touch a home, the tree is far too close.