If you have had to invest in foundation pier systems in the past, you know what kind of impact hydrostatic pressure and unstable soil can have on the security of your home. That same pressure can impact the stability of your piers if you don’t work to maintain them.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can use this pier maintenance checklist to protect your piers from damage that might compromise your home’s structural integrity.
What’s the Importance of Maintaining Your Piers?
Many contractors working in the Cleveland, OH, area recommend installing piers beneath your foundation if you believe your home’s been built on unstable ground and has experienced foundation settlement. That said, the ground can destabilize over time if you see significant amounts of rain. Similarly, your foundation may begin to sink on its own after long-term exposure to hydrostatic pressure and unstable soil conditions.
Piers can move your foundation back into place and take some of your home’s weight off of the otherwise sensitive material. That is why it is important to make sure your piers don’t fall victim to the wearing effects of hydrostatic pressure as your foundation can.
In that same vein, keeping groundwater and rainwater away from your piers is equally essential. You can do so through a variety of means, even if you can’t excavate your piers every few months for direct maintenance.
How Can You Maintain Your Piers?
More often than not, contractors will install the piers meant to help keep your foundation in place at least 10 feet or more below your home. As such, they’re not the easiest repair measures to keep an eye on. That said, if you want to actively maintain your piers, you’ll want to work to keep as much water away from them as possible. This is all the simpler to do when you take the following steps:
- Invest in Early Waterproofing Measures
Waterproofing your foundation, basement, and crawl space will help limit the amount of hydrostatic pressure your home has to endure. If you’re not quick about your installations, however, you’ll likely find yourself investing in outdoor piers.
These piers, as mentioned, can just as readily fall victim to the effects of hydrostatic pressure as your unprotected foundation. As such, you’ll want to consider investing in a few waterproofing measures to direct water away from them as well as from the rest of your home.
By investing in an interior drainage system and sump pumps, you can direct water away from the interior perimeter of your home and out into an existing drain or further out into your yard.
- Clean your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters can feel like a thankless chore. When you get rid of the obstacles that might otherwise disrupt the flow of rainwater through your gutters, you’re protecting your piers and your foundation. Water that can’t run through your gutters will rain straight down onto the perimeter of your home, where it’ll have a direct line toward your piers and foundation. When you keep your gutters clean and arrange your downspouts with care, you can instead rest easy knowing that any run-off will head straight out toward existing drains.
- Have a Professional Inspect Your Home for Damage
Annual home inspections can help you stay on top of any damage that might put your home’s structural integrity at risk. These inspections can include closer looks at your foundation and the effects of the piers you already have in place. Again, while an inspector won’t be able to dig out your piers for a closer look, he can determine whether those piers are doing their job.
It’s also worth noting that when pier systems are installed, some contractors – like Ohio Basement Systems, for example – have a benchmarking procedure. Once the pier installation is complete, the installers will set up a laser level and then install small rivets into the foundation above each one of the piers. This allows for future inspections to check that the piers continue to work in stabilizing the home, giving you peace of mind.
- Don’t Let Damage Have Time to Expand
If you let your piers go unprotected for an extended period of time, any damage done to them can get significantly worse. Don’t wait for any problems to disappear on their own – and don’t try to DIY a foundation stabilizer, either. Instead, you can reach out to the foundation repair professionals working out of the Cleveland, OH, area to determine how best to shore up your piers and protect your home. Contact the expert team at Ohio Basement Systems today for a free inspection and repair estimate.