Foundation problems don’t just appear in older homes. If your home has to endure hydrostatic pressure or shifting soils, it can begin to settle and sink.
Luckily, you can work with a professional foundation contractor to repair any damage done and prevent future problems from arising.
All About Foundation Settling
There are several different sources at work when your home begins to settle. To begin with, your foundation needs space into which it can settle. Rainwater and tree roots can cause the soil beneath your foundation to start shifting. As your soil moves, it can leave behind gaps for your home to sink into, courtesy of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure, which is the pressure that builds up when water comes into direct contact with your structural supports, can also drive changes beneath your foundation to occur all the faster.
In short, your foundation will settle if you do not make an effort to secure the soil beneath your home.
The good news is that you can make an effort to keep your soil in one place, or to at least limit the effects hydrostatic pressure and shifting soils can have on your home. While it may seem like an expensive endeavor up front, it’s much easier to pay for preventive measures than it is to try and work out what may need repairs later down the line.
Signs of a Settling Foundation
If you want to keep an eye out for signs of sinking or settling around your home, you’re in luck. Even without professional experience, you can identify signs that give away shifting in your foundation. The clearest include:
- Bowing walls
- Shifting floors
- Gaps near the joints of your foundation
- Sticking doors
- Foggy windows
- Water damage that’s impacted your belongings, carpet, or furniture
These are the symptoms of damage that can appear inside of your home. If you let water damage or sinking go untreated for too long, you may start to notice signs of foundation damage outside of your home. The most common types of exterior damage to see include:
- Vertical wall cracks
- Broken chimneys
- Horizontal foundation cracks
- Disrupted landscaping
Do be aware that many of these signs can also indicate damage to your basement or crawl space. You’ll want to work with one of the foundation repair professionals in the Cleveland, OH, area to determine where your damage originates and what repair methods may suit you best. After a home inspection, contractors will also be able to provide you with a free quote on the services you may need to bring your home back up to snuff.
Preventing Foundation Settling
If you do want to get ahead of foundation settling, there are several steps you can take to protect your home. These include:
- Moisten your lawn – Sprinkler systems and other forms of lawn irrigation won’t actually contribute to the hydrostatic pressure building around your foundation. Instead, they’ll prevent it. These systems keep your soil healthy and full. In this state, your soil is both less likely to shift and better able to collect rainwater that might otherwise rush your foundation.
- Plant your landscaping with care – While landscaping your property, you’ll want to do what you can to keep your larger hedges and trees at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. This way, they’ll have the room they need to spread their root systems without disturbing your sensitive foundation.
- Clear out your gutters – Cleaning your gutters is never fun, but it is essential if you want to keep water away from your foundation. Rainwater that is blocked in your gutters by obstacles will splash straight down onto the perimeter of your home, where it will have a straight shot at your foundation.
- Waterproofing your foundation – Waterproofing your foundation allows you to create a hydrophobic barrier between your home and the outdoors. With these barriers in place, and with an upkeep schedule established, you can prevent long-term foundation damage and lower the costs of maintaining your home.
If you’re concerned about the state of your foundation, don’t wait for any potential damage to worsen. The foundation repair contractors in the Cleveland area can help you determine whether anything’s gone amiss and what you can do to maintain the value of your home.