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Top 5 Most Common Foundation Mistakes

Common Foundation Mistake #1: Poor Drainage/Soil Too Wet

For the integrity of your foundation it is important that it is neither too dry nor too wet. The moisture balance is what helps it to remain stable. If the area around your foundation become too wet, you risk causing damage to the foundation. How is this? You may not realize that not enough water to the soil around your home can cause the soil to contract, while too much water can cause it to swell.

In Oklahoma, much of the soil is comprised of clay. Clay soil (sometimes referred to as expansive clay soil) absorbs water and expands. This expansion puts upward pressure on your foundation and can cause it to bowl out or become lopsided over time. If left unchecked, you will begin to notice cracks in your foundation, walls, and floor.

So how to you deal with this problem of poor drainage so that your soil isn’t too wet? One way is to make sure your gutters are clean and functioning as they should. You want to downspouts to move water away from your home so that it doesn’t pool around the foundation. Additionally, you will want to handle the runoff water around your home for the same reasons. This may require putting in a French drain to redirect the natural water pathways in your yard when it rains.

Common Foundation Mistake #2: Soil Too Dry

Wet expansive soil is an issue, but so is low moisture when it comes to your foundation. Just as you don’t want it too wet, you also do not want the area around your foundation doesn’t become too dry. When the soil is too dry it will shrink or contract, pulling away from the foundation. This can allow the foundation room to shift. Moreover, a shrinking foundation does not offer any support to the structure of your building or home, which will cause cracks in the foundation walls, as well as hard-to-open doors and windows. If you have a basement, this can create cracks that will eventually leak.

During the Oklahoma Dry season (summer), make sure you have an irrigation system in place such as a soaker hose or sprinkler system. You just want to keep a constant level of moisture to the soil surrounding your home’s foundation.

Common Foundation Mistake #3: Lots of Trees Too Close to The Foundation

You may not have even realized that too many trees could be a problem for your foundation, but it is true. While nice landscaping can add appeal to the appearance of your home, planting trees to close to your foundation can have some unintended consequences. Trees will draw moisture from the soil, so depending on the size of the tree, as well as their root system, this could be a big problem. Did you know that one large tree can use as much as 100 gallons of water in a day? Of the more common trees in Oklahoma, 40 gallons a day per tree is more realistic but that it just one tree, so you can see how even a few trees close to your home’s foundation would really do some damage to the moisture balance around one’s foundation.

In addition, the root system of too many trees near your home can cause your foundation to stretch and crack, which can catastrophically compromise the integrity of your foundation.

There are practical solutions to allowing a large planted tree near your foundation to remain and thrive by installing a root barrier system to protect your foundation. Also, to help curb shrinking due to the trees “hogging” all the water, you should regularly water around the foundation of your home. Removing the trees is another way. We recommend Long’s Tree Service.

Common Foundation Mistake #4: Neglecting Foundation Repairs

Procrastination is such an easy thing to do, especially when it is a repair we really don’t want to pay for, but in the case of foundation issues it pays to ask fast. Procrastinating in this case can only make the problem worse and more costly.

There are several tell-tale signs that you should look out for that can indicate foundation issues that should be attended to such as cracks in the foundation, cracks in your floors, walls, and ceilings. Another thing to look out for is gaps around your home’s foundation or in the brick exterior. These can certainly be a sign that your home has shifted.

Does your home look like its sinking? It is possible that it has settled some. When this happens doors often become more difficult to open and close, as do windows. Conversely, if the foundation appears to have risen that could be a sign of upheaval, which is the opposite of settling. Foundation upheaval is a significant issue and one that you should have checked out by a foundation repair specialist immediately.

Have you noticed sticking doors and windows? Are your counters and cabinets separating from the wall? Do you have sagging, uneven floors, or unlevel floors? Any gaps around the window frames or exterior doors? While there could be other issues causing this such as humidity among other reasons, you should contact a foundation expert, and have it checked out. Do not ignore these issues, no matter how small, as they will only become larger issues over time. Remember small issues can be indicators of much larger ones that you cannot see (such as your foundation).

Common Foundation Mistake #5: Putting Home Renovation Projects Ahead of Foundation Repairs

Foundation repair often requires lifting your home. This can potentially cause some damage to your plumbing or other interior structures, so it is best to put off renovation projects you know you need your foundation repaired, be sure to take care of it before having any other home renovations completed. No one wants to do an exciting home renovation project that they love only to damage it getting repairs that they need. Step one should therefore be to repair your foundation.

There are some of the most common foundation mistakes we see homeowners here in the Oklahoma City Metro Area making. The integrity and value of your home relies on a sturdy foundation so DO NOT put it off when it comes to having your foundation checked out by an expert. Procrastination does come with a price, making a relatively small repair that would cost a few hundred instead a larger repair that could potentially cost you thousands. Oklahoma Foundation Repair gives free inspections and estimates, so no need wait. Call us at the first sign of trouble, (405) 441-1643.