Homeowners in the Greater Richmond Area should be aware that their home foundations could be under extreme stress – perhaps more than 30,000 pounds per square foot!
The reason is, some types of earth – especially clay – are prone to shrink swell soil conditions. Expansive soil, containing certain minerals and salts, can absorb a lot of water, expanding up to 15 times its dry volume. The expanded soil can press against your foundation, creating cracks and waterproofing problems.
Then, as the soil dries, it shrinks, giving your foundation room to move around, removing support, causing cracks, settling and other foundation damage.
How Do I Prevent Damage from Shrink Swell Soil?
Cracked bricks, cracked concrete, cracked slabs and cracked block foundations are no laughing matter. So it’s a good idea to take preventative steps to stop foundation damage.
Since expanding soil soaks up available water, you should check the water sources and drainage systems around your home to make sure they are not playing a part in the problem.
First, are you running sprinklers close to your foundation? If the answer is yes, then you should move the sprinkler system five feet or more away from the building’s foundation. If there are plants near your home’s foundation that need watering, use a hose and only give them as much water as they need. Watering them excessively can add to the shrink swell soil problem.
Remember, Water Flows Downhill
You should check how your yard is graded. The earth next to your foundation should slope gently away from your home. Unless you want to create a moat – with consequential foundation damage – it’s best to have water flow away from your home.
Also, check your home’s drainage. The discharge line should be pointing away from your house And while you’re at it, ensure that the gutter’s line is running at least seven feet away from your foundation.
You should also make sure that your gutters are clean and see if you can extend downspouts at least five feet away from your home.
If your home’s foundation has been subject to the stresses of shrink swell soil and you are worrying if there is a problem that will undermine your home’s structure, contact the Richmond foundation professionals at Dependable Home Services for a free consultation. We have been providing the best siding, foundation repair, and home improvement services to Richmond and surrounding area for more than 20 years.