The foundation makes up the building blocks that support the rest of your house. As your house ages, so does your foundation. It takes a beating from the harsh Minnesota elements in the form of snow, frost, rain, humidity, and more! As with anything, there are certain things that can be done to increase the lifespan of your foundation.
Watch for pooling water: Water near your foundation is one of the most common things homeowners overlook, until it becomes an issue. Once it is an issue, it can be extremely costly. So it is best to do some maintenance ahead of time.
If water is coming straight off of your roof and running back towards your house, the first thing you should consider is adding a gutter system. Gutters provide an inexpensive way to get water that is coming off of the roof away from your home. It also prevents ruts in your yard that water pools up in from where the rain always lands.
It is also a good idea to look at the slope of your yard. Is your house at the highest point? Where does water naturally want to flow? When a yard has poor drainage it can wreak havoc on your foundation. One way to fix a drainage issue is to build up the ground around your home. This typically means hauling in black dirt and spreading it about 6’ out, all the way around your house. Then build it up so it’s higher at the house than 6’ out. Doing so helps shed away unwanted water.
Keep eye on trees: Having trees shade your yard in the dog days of summer is a great relief from the sun. When they shade your house it also gives you the added benefit of a cooler house and reduced energy costs. With that being said, keeping an eye on trees and their proximity to your home is important. Trees roots can extend out as far as the tree is tall in some cases! If you have a tree next to your house its roots could cause extensive damage to the foundation. It also poses the threat of falling onto your house during a storm. Don’t plant any new trees within 10’ of your house and consider transplanting/removing trees that are in the immediate vicinity of your house.
Landscaping properly: Landscaping around your home is a great way to increase curb appeal; when doing so it is important to think ahead. First, look at the grade and make sure that the ground is built up and slopes away from your home. Second, make sure if you use landscaping block or pavers that water has some place to exit, so it doesn’t create a pool against your foundation. Lastly, when you start arranging your flowers and plants consider their size at maturity. At all times you want at least 6” between your plants and the foundation.
Lastly, keep an eye on any cracks that you notice. Small cracking is normal and to be expected. Cracking is caused from shifts in the ground, with can be caused by a number of factors. If they grow to the point of concern, it is best to contact a mason and get an expert opinion.