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If you see water begin to accumulate near the foundation of your home, this can be a cause for concern. When water compromises your home’s foundations, it can cause issues such as leaks, cracks, electrical hazards, mold, and even structural damage. These can be costly problems to resolve, but luckily there are some precautions and solutions you can invest in to prevent water from causing damage and resulting in foundation repairs.

How to Keep Water Away from Your House Foundation: 8 Tips

Here are 8 suggestions to help you to keep water from affecting your home’s foundation.

1. Ensure Good Drainage

A poor drainage system is one of the leading causes of water damage to your home’s foundation. So, if you want to protect your home it’s important that you invest in a good drainage system. 

2. Gutter Installation and Management

Gutters are an affordable and effective way to manage water flow near your property. Gutters collect rainwater that runs off your roof, and directs it away from your home. This prevents rainwater from leaking into your foundation and washing any foundation soil away. 

It’s important that you regularly maintain your gutters so you can ensure that they’re working effectively. You should routinely clean your guttering of any debris, especially leaves, which may clog the pipes and prevent water from being able to drain properly. Luckily, we offer both gutter installation and cleaning services, so don’t hesitate to give us a call!

3. Downspout Issues

Downspouts attach to the end of your gutter so that water can be drawn away from your home’s foundations. However, if your downspouts aren’t up to scratch, they could actually be causing damage to your home’s structure, rather than protecting it. The most common fault with downspouts is that they are too short. For a downspout to work effectively, it is recommended that they are at least ten feet away from your foundation. If your home sits on a pier and beam foundation, be sure water doesn’t empty out near an entrance to a crawl space.

If there is an issue with your downspout it can be easily solved by extending the pipe. If you need a hand, this is one of the services that we can provide for you.

4. Install a French Drain System 

Essentially, installing a french drain involves digging a trench around the exterior of your property. A perforated pipe is added, and the trench is then filled with gravel to secure the piper in place. We add a grate to the top of the pipe so water can drain through to the pipe, but debris won’t be able to. The drainage system should extend to the lowest part of your yard and have a 3-5% downslope, so that water will be carried away from your property. The trench will need to be around 4-6 feet away from the foundation of your home, and is usually around 6 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Every yard handles water differently. We can advise you on whether a french drain vs. a catch basin is the best solution for your drainage

French drainage systems are relatively maintenance free, meaning that you will not have to routinely clean the pipes. Not only are they maintenance-free, they are also an attractive drainage option as they can be covered with soil and decorative rocks – so you can still have a perfect yard! Luckily, French drain installation is another service we provide. 

5. Invest in a Sump Pump 

French drain systems rely on there being a natural slope in your yard, so that water can be drained away from your property without water-logging your lawn. However, if you don’t have a sloped yard, then a sump pump may be the solution you need.

Sump pumps work by collecting water into a tank, and pumping that water elsewhere – which is more often than not into storm drains. There are usually two different ways in which a sump pump is installed: interior and exterior. Interior sump pumps are installed in basements. During storms water can easily gather in your basement, flooding your house. However, a sump pump will collect any water which reaches inside your basement, and drain it out of and away from your house.

Exterior sump pumps sit in a concrete-based chamber in your garden. Water is fed into the chamber through a pipe, and as it rises the sump pump pumps the water away from your garden. The water is usually sent to the curb and ends up in the storm drain. These are the most common types used in the Houston area.

Sump pumps are rather inexpensive and usually last around 25-30 years. If you’re interested in learning more about our sump pump services, just give us a call. 

6. Landscaping 

As much as we love our yards, they can actually be the reason why our homes are susceptible to water damage. If you notice water pooling towards your home’s foundation it could be because your lawn tilts towards your home rather than away. If that is the case, you may need to have your yard leveled out in these spots. While some homeowners balk at this idea, it is much less expensive than house leveling should too much settling take place. 

Leveling a yard can be an intense and laboring job, so it might be best if you seek professional help if you notice that your yard surface is uneven. 

7. Inspect Ground Slopes

Overflowing gutters or inefficient downspouts can erode the ground near the foundation of your home. After a while, the erosion will create a trench in the soil which will trap water there. So, instead of your gutters taking water away from your home, it will pool around your foundations. If you see this start to occur, fill the holes in with soil. Be sure to pack the soil firmly for the best results. 

Avoid clay soils as they tend to drain poorly. You’ll want to purchase granular soil with high sand content. 

8. Don’t Let Soil Completely Dry Out 

It may sound like a contradiction, but having dry soil around your foundation isn’t actually a good thing. During droughts or dry weather, soil can dry out and shrink. When soil dries out, the next time rain soaks into the earth, it will cause the soil to swell and expand. When this happens, the foundation walls will be under intense pressure, and this is when cracks in exterior walls can begin to appear

Widening cracks can eventually lead to doors and windows sticking in the house. While frustrating in terms of limited use, the bigger concern is developing foundation problems affecting the value of your house and its safety.

To prevent this from happening, it’s strongly recommended you water the soils around your foundations periodically during a dry spell. This will reduce the chance of soil being able to shrink to cause any structural damage, ultimately helping you avoid the need for foundation repair. If you have questions, be sure to get in touch!