With the talk of an El Nino winter coming up, most Southern Californian home owners are thinking about the condition of their roof and possibility of leaks. And while this is a concern, rain is capable of doing far more damage to a home than getting through a roof.
Regardless if a home’s foundation is a slab or raised style, a home’s foundation is made of concrete. Concrete is actually porous. Water can and will eventually soak through a concrete foundation. Over time, water soaking into the foundation will weaken the concrete, leading to deterioration and/or cracks. Keeping the rain away from the foundation is something home owners need to be concerned about.
When inspecting a home’s foundation, the first thing I do is look up and see if the home has rain gutters installed. That can tell me a lot before I even examine the foundation itself. Most homes that I inspect where I find damaged or cracked foundations are homes that do not have functional rain gutters. The reason being is without gutters, rain water is not guided away from the home and instead accumulates around the foundation, and eventually the water soaks into the concrete.
Outside of gutters, having good drainage, and drain lines that are clear are important. Driveways and walkways should slope away from the home. Drains around the exterior should be clear of dirt and debris. Vegetation should ideally be 12″ to 18″ away from the foundation. Even piles of dead leaves should not be allowed to accumulate around the foundation, and they can hold moisture against the foundation exterior.
They key to having a long lasting foundation is to keep water away from it. Gutters, slopes, and drains all work together to help keep a foundation dry. And remember, when selling or buying a home, have a Certified Home Inspector inspect your home for potential foundation damage.