Soil erosion can wreak havoc on a home’s foundation. Without a protective layer of topsoil, the ground near the home’s foundation has a much more difficult time regulating moisture, causing the soil to quickly expand and contract. If you can prevent soil erosion, you can help prevent future foundation problems. Below are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years to help prevent soil erosion around foundations.
Any water running directly down the side of a house is cause for concern and should be addressed immediately. This issue not only ruins the foundation of the home, but it can also cause other structural issues such as mold, wood rot, and infestations. To avoid these issues, be sure to check your gutters periodically throughout the year, and especially early in the Spring. Any leaves, sticks, and tree debris should be removed so water can seamlessly flow through the gutters.
The same goes for downspouts. Water cannot effectively flow away from the foundation if the downspouts are clogged, or misplaced. Always make sure that downspouts are draining water away from the home’s foundation.
If you live in a heavily wooded area, it might be in your best interest to install gutter guards. By installing gutter guards, you may reduce the amount of times you need to clean your gutters. You will also reduce the chance of water overflowing due to clogged gutters.
Grading is the level of the ground around your foundation. The grade of the property will ultimately determine where water will flow. As a rule of thumb, soil should be graded at a 3-6% slope away from your foundation for the first 10 feet. This will allow for proper water movement. Any steep slopes or sudden drops in ground elevation allow for rapid water flow, which causes erosion. In some cases, it might be necessary to install soil nails to help stabilize the soil and reduce erosion.
To control downhill erosion, a retaining wall may be a great investment for the future of your foundation. The goal of a retaining wall is to battle gravity in places where extra support is needed to prevent the earth from moving downhill. These barrier walls help maintain the slope and prevent topsoil erosion due to heavy rainfall and water runoffs.
Be sure to maintain your lawn and keep your grass healthy and fed. Aside from adding to your curb-appeal, grass, small shrubs, and plant roots help keep essential topsoil in place. When the ground near a foundation is left exposed for too long, it can be difficult to regulate moisture, which is bad news for foundations. Any large cracks or sudden changes to the ground around your home should be evaluated by one of our professional contractors.
While these tips won’t fully eliminate the chances for soil related foundation issues, they sure are a great start. Proper care of your property can go a long way!