Avoid These Three Design Trends to Keep Your Foundation Strong

Sometimes exterior home design trends catch on that look great but aren’t a good structural fit for your home. This can include anything from planting a fast-growing tree that’s a bit too close to your bay windows to letting ivy grow up the brick facade of your home. Watch out for these design trends that could let foundation damage settle in without warning:

Avoid These Three Design Trends to Keep Your Foundation Strong

1. Stone facade covers for your exposed foundation

Bare concrete isn’t always pretty. If you have a brick or paver driveway and a flagstone patio, you might be looking for ways to get rid of the last of your exposed, visible concrete. But covering your foundation with stone facade tiles isn’t a viable solution. It obscures the start of hairline cracks and wider signs of damage. You need that concrete to stay exposed so you can keep an eye out for problems.

2. Adding too many concrete features around the perimeter of your home

Watering the soil around your home’s foundation is a great way to control settling, especially in Texas. The soil contracts and expands so wildly when left to its own devices that you need a way to moderate the size changes. Mulching, watering, and garden beds with light-rooted hedges and flowers are all great options. But if you line the side of your house with concrete blocks or footpaths, you can’t keep the soil in place as easily. Shifting soil will also create a chasm between the concrete and your foundation that rain will shoot right into.

3. Raised garden beds around the side of your house

Raised garden beds can trap water against the sides of your foundation. So always make sure your garden beds and any layers of mulch slope away from your home. It needs to be both gradual enough to fight against erosion and steep enough to mitigate the risks of standing water.

Go to Steady House Foundation Repairs for more tips to keep your home’s foundation safe.

Look for These Three Signs of Bad Drainage Before You Buy a Home

When you’re on the market for a new home, don’t fall in love with how it looks. Instead, run a full gamut of tests that measure the house’s structural quality and the quality of its systems. Even if you can’t schedule an appointment with a foundation expert, there are a few ways to check if a house has foundation problems just waiting to emerge. One way is to check if the floor is level. The other is to look for signs of bad drainage.

 Look for These Three Signs of Bad Drainage Before You Buy a Home

Keep an eye out for these three signs of poor drainage on the property:

1. The house is downhill.

There’s something picturesque about a house on a hill. But it means water running down the slope will pool against at least one side of the house unless you actively prevent it. Houses built on a downhill slope need to have carefully maintained lawns and drainage systems that divert the runoff around the foundation. So if your prospective next home is on a slope, make sure that the previous owner was on top of that maintenance. Also be sure that you’re willing to keep it going.

2. The grass and soil around the house aren’t uniform.

If the soil around the edge of the property’s foundation is pitted or has smooth chunks carved out of the surface, that usually indicates the gutters aren’t doing their job. There may be missing downspouts at those spots, the gutters might be clogged, or there could just be a pocket of extra loamy soil. No matter what the reason is, uneven, pocked soil around the foundation line means the previous owner hasn’t been paying attention.

3. The crawlspace smells musty.

Nobody likes going into a crawlspace, even under the best of circumstances. But if you’re looking at a home with a pier and beam foundation, you need to make sure that the space is in good condition. One of the simplest tests to look for bad drainage is to open the door and smell the air. A little bit of mustiness is to be expected. But if you are hit by a wave of mildew and rot, it might be time to walk away.

If poor drainage is a problem but you like the house anyway, call in a foundation expert to take a look. We can offer recommendations or an estimate for future repairs.

by Steady House Foundation Repair Blog