Waterproofing Your Foundation
As a homeowner you strive to keep your home in the best shape possible at all times. You care for the yard, the siding, the roof and the paint. You routinely have maintenance done on your HVAC system and fix all the odds and ends. Your home is your pride and you could never imagine anything happening to it. But a simple oversight can jeopardize the integrity of your home. The worst thing that can happen to a residential structure is a foundation problem. The foundation is literally what the house is built on. It is what keeps the building where it was built, transferring the dead loads and the live loads into the ground. The source of the vast majority of foundation problems is water. Wet soil beneath a foundation can swell or lose strength. That’s only one of the many reasons to keep the foundation dry. Another unpleasant problem that a wet basement or crawl space can cause is a mold and mildew problem. Not only does this destroy the wooden structure of a home, it can also cause a lot of health problems for occupants. Unfortunately, typical concrete is not waterproof. Although uncracked it will typically keep out liquid water. Water vapor on the other hand can still penetrate quite easily. Keeping water drained away from concrete foundations to prevent it from moving through concrete is essential in order to keep the integrity and stability of your foundation and residential structure. Draining any water away and ensuring a dry interior space below grade can be relatively simple or fairly involved depending on geographic location, climate, topography, soil/water table conditions, and depth of the foundation. There are three components of any system designed to keep water out. These are, from the bottom up: * Drains to move water away from the bottom of the foundation. * Wall treatment to prevent moisture from moving through the wall and to route water down to the drains. * Ground surface treatment adjacent to the building to direct surface water away. This all typically occurs underground before the building is complete, doing it right the first time is critical, because coming back to fix it is an expensive undertaking. A leaky foundation in a residential building can damage finishes and furnishings, even the structure itself. In a commercial building, water can ruin expensive equipment and disrupt vital work. It all adds up to lost money, wasted time, upset customers and sometimes litigation. What can you do as a Homeowner? - make sure that all downspouts are aimed away from your home. Be sure that they extend at least five feet away from the foundation and are graded appropriately. If the grading is wrong the water will run back to your foundation. - Keep shrubs away from the foundation. 12 inches from the foundation is usually a good rule of thumb. This is because the plants can create a path for surface water to flow into your foundation. - If you have minor or intermittent leaked try using waterproof paint such as drylox or xyprex. This can help seal some types of leaks over time. - Repair cracks in the concrete foundation, especially if they go all the way through to the tie rods. You can get a construction grade apoxy for such repairs at your local home improvement store. - If you have chronic flooding, a sump pump or French drain may be right for your home. This defers the water outside and away from the home so it does not sit stagnant and cause more damage. Waterproofing your foundation is key to the lifespan of your home. If the foundation breaks down over time the integrity of your residence is at stake. Have some cracks in your foundation? Looking to buy a home but noticed cracks in its foundation? Not sure how severe they are? Hire a professional home inspector such as Brian McDonald of McDonald Home Inspections to inspect your foundation or the foundation of your future home. One inspection can save you thousands of dollars in future problems. Call 978-413-9893 or contact us online today.