Feeling the Heat This Summer? So is Your Home’s Foundation!
Remember a few weeks ago, when St. Louisans were cold and complaining about the “never-ending winter?” And then remember when—in the span of what seemed like only 72 hours or so—we stepped into summer? All 95 degrees of it?
Feeling like we skipped over springtime might be exciting for those who love summer, but it can be not-so-great for your home’s foundation.
Why? Dry Soil Conditions
A lack of spring showers means very dry soil. Along with the intense heat, this can create a “drought condition,” and when the soil surrounding your home is too dry, it can shrink. Dry, shrinking soil can move and shift, taking your foundation with it. This is especially true if you have large trees near your home, as they will consume large amounts of the water in the already-dry soil.
If your home’s foundation floor or walls do shift due to shrinking soil, it can form cracks that can allow moisture in when it does rain. Additionally, soil movement can leave your foundation exposed and unsupported in some areas.
How Does This Affect My Home?
Due to the heat and lack of moisture, foundation movement can be very common in the St. Louis area. If left unmonitored and untreated, this can cause various issues and structural damage to your home. Cracks in your home’s foundation can allow moisture in, leading to potential flooding problems when it does rain.
Worse, if the movement is significant, cracks can lead to a sinking foundation, an uneven foundation, or bowing walls that lean in or out. A sinking foundation signals that enough soil movement has taken place to cause your foundation to tilt and “lean on” another ground area for support. If your foundation is sinking or settling, it’s time to call the Foundation Doctor of St. Louis.
What Should You Look For?
Some indications of foundation settling can be obvious, like cracks in your interior foundation walls or floor and cracks or separation of exterior bricks. Some clues are more subtle. If you notice new cracks in your drywall throughout the house, or if you notice that an old crack starts “growing,” you may have foundation movement. If your doors are sticking or becoming hard to open, or if you notice gaps around your windows, you may have foundation movement. If tile in your bathrooms or kitchen starts cracking or buckling, you may have foundation movement. These are hints pointing you toward calling the Foundation Doctor to provide a foundation inspection and evaluation.
What Can You Do?
Periodically examine your foundation, both inside and outside your home. If you notice that you’ve had a lot of dry days, it’s not a bad idea to run a hose and provide moisture to the soil around your foundation.
Another good idea is to run a dehumidifier in your basement or crawl space, because even without rain, you’ll want to monitor moisture inside your home. While you’re checking your foundation for cracks, you can also look for mold.
If you find any cracks or items of concern, don’t hesitate to call the Foundation Doctor.
Who Should You Call?
The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis will identify your foundation problem, offer the solution, and permanently fix the foundation damage at its source. Call us today for a free
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foundation evaluation! We will provide peace of mind so that you can enjoy our muggy, St. Louis summers at the pool or in your garden, free from worry about your foundation.
St. Louis home owners are no strangers to severe weather and the damage in can inflict on homes and foundations. Downpours, high winds and hail can destroy the integrity of exterior surfaces, crack windows and damage roofs. New damage can create new routes for moisture to find its way to your basement and foundation. While there is no way to stop the weather, there are ways to protect your investment. Before extreme weather arrives, here are some easy things you can do to protect your home, and your wallet.
Before the Storm
Direct water away from your foundation. Downspout extensions should extend five to six feet away from the foundation and direct water well away from the home. Soil should slope away from your home; so should patios and sidewalks. Problem areas can be corrected by simply adding additional soil to low spots. Address small repairs before they become big ones. Maintain the weatherstripping and other sealants around windows and doors.
A thorough cleaning of gutters and downspouts is a must. The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis recommends cleaning gutters and downspouts every spring and fall. If you have a wooded yard, it should be done more often. A problem with your roofs drainage system can leave you with a wet basement, puddles in your yard and damage to your foundation. You might need a trowel, a ladder and some gloved hands to scoop out the vegetation.
After your drainage system is clean, use a garden hose to spray into the downspout, making sure the water flows freely through the drain pipes. Also check the slope of your gutter. Your home’s gutters should drop at least one inch vertically for every eight feet of horizontal length. Anything less could allow rain to run over the edge of the gutter during a storm. You should also inspect the gutters and downspouts to make sure they are well connected and not vulnerable to high winds. Any water pooling around your home is a danger to your foundation.
After the storm
It’s a good idea to walk around your the inside and outside of your home after a rainstorm. Take a quick look for areas with standing water. Are there any foundation cracks, missing downspouts and extenders, overflowing or plugged gutters, leaking window wells? If so, those items need to be addressed immediately. Underestimating or ignoring minor damage to your home can be a major mistake. If you have questions about the integrity of your home, call The Foundation Doctor of St. Louis for your free, same-day, in-home evaluation and estimate.
Spring cleaning is a way to remove a year’s worth of dust, dirt, and debris from both the inside and outside of your home. Before undertaking any cleaning job, make sure the item you are cleaning is in excellent condition; as broken, worn, or unusable fixtures will need replacing. Now is the perfect time for St. Louis homeowners to contact The Foundation Doctor, before beginning any water-intensive cleaning tasks. Whether removing leaves and debris from gutters, preparing soil in the garden or flowerbeds, or pressure washing exterior areas, The Foundation Doctor’s experts can determine if your home’s foundation and walls are safe, dry, and hazard-free.
Prevent Water Damage Before It Happens
Water damage can affect foundations, walls, crawl spaces, and other areas of your home, and there are hidden dangers of having too much moisture. If a home takes on too much water and is unable to drain properly, physical damage to the home occurs and can affect its occupants. Check with The Foundation Doctor before beginning any intensive spring cleaning task.
Some of the most common causes of springtime water accumulation include melting snow and ice, a higher-than-average rainfall, and activities such as pressure washing and home maintenance. Since all of these involve relatively large amounts of moisture, deposited close to a home’s foundation, the longer water stays close to your foundation, the more damage it can cause. Checking for areas of pooling water is one way to know your home may need its drainage systems checked. At The Foundation Doctor, we’re experts at knowing the best method for removing excess water away from your home’s foundation; while inspecting and repairing any possible damage existing drainage systems may have caused.
Put Decorating/Remodeling Plans On Hold
Many homeowners are able to recognize when something is not right with the outside of their home, but what about the inside? While you may be able to see cracks on walls, water pooling in basements, and doors that do not close properly, health dangers such as insect infestations and mold/fungi growth can hide but cause tremendous physical and financial damage to homes and their residents. That’s where The Foundation Doctor’s expertise is far superior to a layperson’s. Our professionals inspect for the possibility of water damage and will check surrounding areas to notify homeowners where damage has occurred and what can be done to prevent future occurrences.
This is why it is important to have a foundation check-up before any springtime redecorating plans are made. If damage needs to be repaired, it is best to do so before money is spent on finishing touches.
Is There Anything I Can Do?
Homeowners can use their senses to detect if their homes may have a problem with drainage, a water leak, or foundation issue. To inspect, some of the most common things to look for are:
- Pooling water around the home’s foundation after a heavy water accumulation.
- An increased amount of pest activity or mold/mildew growth.
- Doors and windows that do not hang, operate, or close properly.
- Basement areas seem damp and have areas of pooling water.
Fortunately, there are some preventative measures homeowners can do that will reduce their chances of incurring costly water damage and foundation repairs. These include:
- Having your home inspected annually by a qualified expert to ensure all drainage areas are functioning as intended.
- Not overwatering plants, bushes, and other areas near your home’s foundation. This also includes vehicle washing, pool draining, and other tasks which may put an abundance of water in close contact with your home.
- Using anti-microbial treatments and mold-inhibiting paints. If an existing problem is not treated, this will not help in those affected areas; however, it can kill fungal growth on applied surfaces. Fungicides can also prevent growth in homes with no existing mold or mildew damage.
Spring is here! Now is the time to call The Foundation Doctor today and get your home ready both inside and out.
Piering Services reinforce your foundation and increase its overall stability
Does your home stand to benefit from professional piering services? If you have issues with your foundation, piering might be the solution you need.
While there are a lot of proven methods used to stabilize a home’s foundation, piering services are often the most effective. Foundation repair and maintenance professionals, such as the Foundation Doctor in St. Louis, use piering reinforce parts of a home that are damaged or fragile.
A do it yourself foundation repair may seem like a good idea, but it ultimately costs even more time & money in the long-run.
If you’re considering a do it yourself foundation repair, you might want to think again. Although it may seem like a simple job from a visual standpoint, there is a lot you could lose. Your foundation’s health is a huge determining factor in the value of your home. If your foundation falls apart, so does your home. Additionally, If there are serious underlying problems stirring, cracks in your concrete could be the beginning.
Your house’s Crawl Space is often overlooked, but it is an important part of maintaining a healthy home and foundation.
Here in St. Louis, there are a lot of houses that have a crawl space. Like any other part of your home, they require regular maintenance to ensure they are functional.