How to Identify and Prevent Water Damage to the Foundation
Have you ever thought if your foundation’s strength is still the same as it was on the first day? Let’s face the truth. Your foundation can fail for ‘n’ number of reasons. But we will address the most common issue today, which is the water damage to the foundation. Although it is quite common, it is surely preventable if the necessary interventions are implemented.
Having said that, we have enumerated the potential warning signs to gauge whether your building’s foundation is damaged and tips to protect the foundation from water damage.
Warning signs to identify damage to the building’s foundation
Warning 1: Cracks
Cracks are quite a common sign but are usually ignored. You might even notice cracks over doorways, walls, or window seals. Horizontal cracks and stair-step cracks in block walls and corners can potentially warn signs of serious structural damage.
Warning 2: Standing water in Basement
If you see water flowing through broken pipes or appliances, that can be just a plumbing issue. But suppose you notice water seeping through the foundation or gutter cracks. In that case, there are high chances that it is the water damage to the foundation.
Warning 3: Jammed doors and windows
Check for jammed doors and windows in your property. If you find any, it indicates water damage to your foundation. Excess water absorption causes doors and windows to swell up and warp.
Warning 4: Mold Patches
If you sense some distinct mildew smell, then that could possibly be mold patches, and mold patches are a significant sign of water damage. Molds usually grow with the help of moisture and organic material. Molds are present mostly on the wooden beams or interior walls/
Warning 5: Rotted Wood
Damp or rotted wood in the interiors is yet another significant warning sign of water damage to the foundation. This could gradually lead to an unstable structure within a few years.
What are the steps to prevent water damage to the foundation?
Now that we know how to spot structural damage that is caused by water, let’s jump onto the preventive measures that we can opt to protect the foundation from water damage.
Step 1: Ground Sloping
Ensure that the ground slopes are at a distance of at least 6 inches and a distance of 10 feet from the foundation. This is because, with constant exposure to water draining, your property becomes highly susceptible to water seeping through the walls. Therefore, when you drain water away from the foundation, you can prevent problems like basement flooding, soil deterioration, or foundation erosion.
Step 2: Install a Gutter System
Install an efficient eavestrough and downspout to avoid rainwater overflow, which eventually accumulates on the ground and forms puddles. Alternatively, you can opt for a slanted roof that allows the rainwater to run off through the roof’s gutters away from the property to prevent water pooling.
Step 3: Create a Barrier
Improving the surrounding soil can significantly improve how water runs away from your home. This is because when the soil around the foundation carries the water towards your home, which results from the overflow from the roof, the soil will start settling down with time. By gradually building topsoil or crushed stone slope approximately 2-3 feet away, you can protect your foundation from water damage.
Step 4: Create a Trench
Even after doing so much to keep the water away from the house, the water might still flow back again and again consistently via a saturated yard and can erode.
To combat this issue, you can build a trench that is approximately 3 to 4 feet deep. This will help to prevent the water from flowing back from the yard. Build the trench at the lowest point of your property and use a lining at the trench’s higher-end with a filter fabric. This way, the water will travel through the drain without any dirt or wilt clogging the drain.
Besides that, you can also include gravel or other crushed rock in the trench to allow the ground level water to enter your drain and direct runoff.
Step 5: Build a Dry well
If you have a small yard, just diverting the water direction might not be adequate to prevent water damage to the foundation. Smaller properties might still come across some puddles or pools. Therefore, the use of a dry well below the ground can make significant improvements here. The dry wells’ porosity acts as a makeshift drain that can hold the fluid and transfer it directly back to the groundwater supply. The width should be 3to 4 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet deep, at least. This will completely prevent flooding and pooling.
Step 6: Waterproofing the foundation
Waterproofing is one of the methods to prevent water damage to the foundation. It uses various techniques and materials to prevent water from penetrating the foundation of the building. There are many different waterproofing solutions available in the market, such as MagicShield – Unimix IW+, Berger Home Sheild, and so on, to safeguard the house from seepage and other water damages. MagicShield Unimix IW+ is mixed with sand-cement mortar and used in the foundation of the house to make it impermeable and corrosion-free.
You can use waterproofing solutions for basements, canals, bridges, dams, where hydro insulation is necessary.
Structural damage because of waterlogging is quite a common issue faced by property owners. The water seeping through the walls and other interiors can damage the wood and décor drastically. Therefore, taking adequate preventive measures can significantly help to combat that. Here is some common warning signs and solutions to protect the foundation from water damage efficiently.