Now that you’ve finished laying down your concrete foundation, the next step is to take care of it. Proper foundation maintenance is often overlooked by many. But what you should know is that maintenance is the only thing that can prevent your concrete foundation from cracking, deflecting, or upheaving.
If you’ve recently laid down concrete retaining walls or concrete footings, here are some maintenance tips you should keep in mind:
1. Inspect the concrete for cracks
Check the concrete from time to time, especially during summer. Look for any signs of damage, such as holes or cracks. If you see any small blemish, be sure to fix it immediately. Look for insects that are coming in and out of holes in the concrete, too. Insects can damage the concrete further if left unchecked.
2. Dampen your foundation regularly
In hot weather, splash your concrete foundation from time to time to keep the surface from cracking. You can also use a soaker hose or automatic sprinkler system to make the job easier, but make sure these are installed at least a foot away from the foundation. Make sure not to make the concrete too wet as well.
3. Check the plumbing annually
Leaks in the plumbing system can mean significant damage to your house’s foundation. Every year, hire a plumber to check your plumbing system both inside and outside of the house. If they find any leaks, have them repaired immediately. Not only can leaks damage the foundation of your home, but it can also destroy other parts of the house.
4. Plan your landscaping properly
When plants are placed too close to the foundation, the roots can degrade or destroy the concrete over time. Since plants need water, too, they can dry up the surrounding soil, which can cause further damage to the concrete. Plant shrubs and trees as far away as possible from your house. Better yet, hire a professional landscaper to help you plan or relocate plants.
5. Look out for signs of a failing foundation
When you see signs of a failing foundation, it’s better to remedy the problem immediately than wait for the damage to get worse. Check your house for these signs at least twice a year:
- Slanted or sagging floors
- Buckling walls
- Sagging roofs
- Doors or windows that won’t close properly
- Settling or sinking foundation
- Gaps around doors or windows
- Gaps between cabinets and the wall
Once you spot these tell-tale signs of a failing foundation, contact a concrete contractor right away. If you ignore the problem, it can mean thousands of dollars more on your repair expenses.
6. Maintain a good drainage system
Avoid foundation problems by keeping moisture away from it. Make sure your gutter system is unclogged and sloped properly, with downspouts directing the water at least five feet away from the house. Additionally, you can install a surface drain to get rid of standing water.
It’s better to spend time and money in proper foundation maintenance than to get stuck with a hefty repair bill if your foundation fails. With these tips, you can keep your concrete foundation safe, stable, and long-lasting.