Gradual wear and tear as a result of fluctuating or extreme weather conditions is one of the most common causes of foundation damage for homes in Columbia, SC. Dampness, humidity, summer heat, and winter cold all come together to slowly compound even the smallest of faults and create a serious foundational problem. Thankfully, there are some really simple steps that homeowners can take to protect their property and prevent pesky mid-winter leaks (as well as many other problems).
Common Causes of Foundation Leaks
Mid-winter leaks do not generally begin in winter; the damage that causes them takes root long before. The most common causes of cracking and leaking foundations are:
Excessive soil saturation or dehydration can cause a number of problems for your property because of the way the soil expands and shrinks in such conditions. This destabilizes your foundation as it fluctuates. It often causes subsidence or settlement, but it can also cause large cracks in a foundation as a result of poor or patchy support.
Hydrostatic pressure is something that every home has to contend with, but excessively high hydrostatic pressure can cause cracks in a property’s foundation and basement. This, in turn, allows leaks to form and dampness to take root.
When a sudden temperature drop causes a snap freeze, the result can be frost heave. This occurs when the top layer of soil freezes solid and heaves upward as the lower layers expand, putting pressure on a property’s foundation. The result can be bulging and cracking inside the property.
These common issues can be managed, however, with simple measures and regular maintenance.
Protecting Your Foundation This Winter
Sadly, once you have cracks and damage in your foundation, there is not much you can do without professional intervention. This is because of the skilled, specialist nature of foundation repairs. However, there are many things you can do to prevent foundation damage from taking root in the first place.
Put Your Yard to Good Use
Your yard holds the key to protecting your property. Most foundational problems begin with the soil, after all, and can be attributed to dehydration, saturation, movement, or erosion, and how you plant your yard can have a huge effect on this. The right mix of plants and bushes, for example, can increase moisture management and minimize erosion or movement.
Keep Your Drains and Gutters Clear
Diverting rainfall and snowmelt away from your property’s perimeter is all-important to preventing avoidable foundation damage. Clear out debris and sediment buildup to minimize the chances of your gutters freezing solid. You should also detach or put up your downspouts through winter as they are more likely to cause a pool that freezes.
Schedule Yearly Maintenance
Maintaining your property’s waterproofing measures is very important, your sump pump for example is likely to be put through its paces by the Columbia, SC, winter and should receive maintenance. Regular maintenance will not only prevent avoidable breakdowns but will give you an idea of when there are issues that warrant investigation, ensuring that you are never caught off guard.
Shovel Snow Away from Your Property
When there’s more than an inch or so of snow on the ground, you should take the time to shovel it away from your property. Piling snow away from your foundation is one of the easiest ways to prevent ice buildup and avoidable foundation damage. This is because it will minimize the water that rushes to your property’s perimeter when the snow begins to melt.
You could also invest in professional waterproofing measures to minimize the chances of damage even further. Upgrading your sump pump, installing a dehumidifier, or even having interior drains installed around your perimeter can make all the difference. If these protective measures fail and you find that you have damage to your property’s foundation, it’s time to contact a professional.
When in Doubt, Call Mount Valley Foundation Services
Mount Valley Foundation Services offers free professional inspections to homeowners with concerns about the health of their foundation or property as a whole. It is our goal to ensure that everyone who comes to us feels empowered to make the choices that are best for them and their situation without pressure or obligation.