Tips for Preventing Water Damage to Your Home’s Foundation

 

Winter is coming, bringing with it many dangers to your home and property.  The cold temperatures, fallen leaves, and dreaded winter precipitation can become a combination to wreak havoc on your property. 

 

It’s so important to make sure that your home is equipped with a proper drainage system.  Keeping up on your home’s drainage systems can help you avoid major damage to your home’s foundation.  Here are some tasks you can complete to help make sure that water is properly draining from your home and prevent any future damage.



 

Locate your water shut-off valve

 

The least you can do to avoid any potential water damage that may be happening to your home is to know where your water shut-off valve is, so that if something catastrophic happens, such as a pipe bursting, you can quickly prevent any further damage.  It’s important for all members of your household to know where the shut-off valve is and how to use it.  It’s always better to be prepared for the worst than to have to deal with the consequences of your unpreparedness.


Clear and clean your gutters

 

Clogged gutters can mean a lot of water is making its way to parts of your yard and home that should not be exposed to very much water at all.  It is so important that you don’t wait until spring to clean out your gutters, because winter brings snow, ice, and rain, which mean a lot of water around your home.  The best way to make sure that your gutters are functioning optimally is to first clear dirt and debris from the gutters, then rinse them with a hose, and finally spray the hose through all the downspouts to make sure that they’re clear.  You also should be checking for any damage to your gutters or leaks that are evident, so that you can get those issues fixed before the winter weather arrives.  Ensure that your splashpans divert water at least three feet away from your home and that the water is on a slope such that it will flow away from your house.

 

Check the soil around your home

 

Keep an eye out around your home for signs of soil erosion or areas that remain wet for extended periods of time.  Finding an area like that near your house can mean that your gutters aren’t functioning properly or that your yard is not draining properly.  If this water is near your foundation, your home is becoming increasingly more vulnerable to water damage. 

 

Vegetation

 

Vegetation around your home is a bit like a double-edged sword.  For one thing, the vegetation can do a lot of good for preventing excess water around your home, sucking up any excess moisture that may otherwise find its way into your foundation.  On the flip side of that, however, having any plant too close to your home can lead to extra pressure on your foundation from the roots of that plant wanting to spread.  A good rule of thumb is to plant the vegetation the same distance away from your home as the plant will grow tall.  For instance, if you are planting a shrub that can grow up to three feet tall, plant the shrub no closer than three feet from your home. 

 

Check your roof for signs of damage

 

It is important that, before the snow starts Building up on top of your home, you check your roof for signs of damage.  If you see any damaged or missing shingles, it is imperative that you get them fixed as soon as possible, especially when they are located in the valleys that connect the different slopes of the roof.  Water can seep into your home through those damaged shingles, and, although the damage it will cause will not be to your foundation, it will still do damage.  Also, be sure to check the metal flashing around chimneys, vent pipes, and roof joints for any signs of damage or evidence that the flashing is beginning to pull away from the house. 

 

Check wood siding for signs of damage and rot

 

The minimum amount of space you should have between wood siding and the ground is 8 inches.  This is because any less space can risk moisture from the ground reaching the wood, leading to mold, mildew, and rot.  If damage occurs to the wood siding, you now have openings where water can penetrate, which can drip down toward your foundation and grow mold inside your home.  It’s also important to clear the leaves and sticks that fell before the winter arrives, because that debris will hold moisture and inch closer and closer to the siding on your home, risking water penetration.  Be sure to also check to make sure that your home’s siding and vulnerable areas are properly painted or sealed, since that can be your best defense for prevention.