ROSIE ON THE HOUSE
Here are drainage and landscape tips to protect your home’s foundation
The landscape and drainage surrounding your home plays a huge role in managing moisture accumulation beneath the foundation. Leaking landscape pipes, overwatered vegetation as well as poor drainage can all add up to foundation trouble.
A majority of the foundation repair projects we see in the Valley are the result of expansive clay soils. Particularly here in the arid Southwest and Sonoran Desert, air conditioning dries the surface of the slab, promoting vapor transmission as well as condensation of water vapor as it is pulled through the slab.
Clay suction begins from around the perimeter of a foundation and rings water, as well as other vapors, underneath the slab. This may result in foundation heave.
There are steps Arizona homeowners can take to help divert moisture away from their home’s foundation.
Landscaping and your home’s foundation
Preventative landscaping changes can be made to reduce the exposure to moisture. But before we discuss some of the landscaping DIY homeowners can do to mitigate excess moisture, let’s look at some of the common challenges.
Some of the common landscape challenges include:
• Narrow side yards that allow for poor drainage and may allow moisture to accumulate.
• Over watering/irrigating yards may induce foundation heave.
• Trees pull moisture from the soil beneath your home’s foundation and may induce foundation settlement.
• Deco drains usually inject water when there are no drain points (most don’t have them).
• Sloped topography can accumulate moisture on the high side.
Homeowners can help protect their home’s foundation with some landscape changes, including:
• Installing drought-tolerant desert landscaping.
• Making sure existing irrigation lines do not leak.
• Relocating plants and trees that require regular watering away from the home’s foundation.
• Making sure your pool’s deco drain works properly.
• Berming sloped areas to divert water away from your home.
Rain gutters, drainage and your home’s foundation
Drainage improvements, combined with landscape changes, are DIY steps homeowners can take to reduce the amount of moisture a foundation is exposed to. Like landscaping changes, the addition of gutters and modifications to drainage plans are not enough to mitigate an existing issue. However, they are the first line of defense against excessive moisture accumulation beneath your home’s foundation.
When installing gutters, appropriate drainage should be part of this plan. It does little good (in fact it may be counterproductive) to collect all the roof water and dump it in a concentrated location at the base of the house. Surface drainage in modern housing is not enough to properly drain, because the lot sizes are often too small and too flat to properly drain. Hard piping is required to properly drain the water from the roof.
Underground drainage that runs at least 20 feet from the home’s foundation is ideal.
While these tips alone are not enough to mitigate an existing foundation problem, they are the first steps in preventing a potential foundation problem. For those homes with an existing foundation issue, we still strongly recommend making the above adjustments in addition to giving us a call to come take a look, free of charge. We have a number of foundation repair solutions available, including our proprietary MoistureLevel Smart Foundation System, and are the only foundation repair contractor in North America to use licensed engineers in the repair plan process. Our service area includes the entire state of Arizona.
Transparent, engineered solutions is what we do.
Information within this article is provided by ROSIE certified partner Arizona Foundation Solutions.