My house just told me (rudely) that it feels the way I look: Weatherbeaten! I have to admit that exposure to harsh weather has a cumulative effect on just about everything. From months of cold temperatures and snow to spring downpours, the ground has thawed and is saturated. Beginning this Sunday the rain should be over, so you’ll be able to assess how our weather conditions have affected your house.
Your home’s foundation is essential to maintain; it stabilizes your house.
A settling foundation can damage and collapse beams, joints, and the roof. Excess rainwater can cause hydrostatic pressure, which forces water through cracks in the foundation and causes structural damage. Water that enters foundation walls also seeps into the basement and other areas. This leads to mold, mildew, decay, and potential health problems. Basement waterproofing and sump pumps are often needed when foundation cracks allow water in.
Get to know your house! Take a walk along the foundation of your home to look for surface water–rainwater that hasn’t been diverted away from the house. If you find that surface water has accumulated, check potential landscaping issues as well as exterior drainage problems.
Examine the slope around the foundation. Proper sloping (or grading) is when the yard slopes downward and away from the house. Make sure there isn’t foliage growing close to the foundation. Invasive root systems of shrubs and trees can cause cracks in the foundation and cause leaks in plumbing systems. Flowerbeds and mulch placed next to the foundation retain moisture. Not only does constant moisture cause damage, but it also attracts insects and other pests.
Besides rainwater, other weather events can cause foundation damage. Freezing, thawing, and drought conditions can cause soil beneath the foundation to expand and contract, which results in shifting, settling, and cracking. Once it cracks, it continues to move with changes in the seasons. Foundation cracks can cause walls and ceilings to crack or bow. Additionally, doors and windows may not function properly. Moisture enters through cracks and openings…do you remember what that leads to? Mold, mildew, decay, and potential health problems!
Weather conditions can cause gutters to sag and malfunction. Gutters can fill with leaves, water or ice, which causes additional stress on the gutter’s connection points. Clean out gutters and consider adding leaf protectors. Look at the downspouts connected to your gutters. They should have extensions to lead water at least 5’ away from the foundation. If not, water will pool directly against the foundation. Check for clogs or anything blocking the end of the downspout. Also, secure the connection points of gutters and downspouts.
Do not climb up on your roof! Use binoculars (or a drone!) to look for loose or missing shingles and fascia. Scan for signs of moisture or damage around vents, attic windows, and siding. And how about the chimney…did Santa knock anything off?
Keeping track of how your house is affected by weather can help you beat significant repair costs. Homeowners often overlook seasonal wear and tear of their homes. After the rain clears, and you take an up-close and personal look at your home’s exterior, make notes about concerns and things to keep an eye on.
For a free inspection of concerns you may have about your home’s foundation, exterior, and roofing, Click here or please call (812) 479-5850.