How to Prevent Wet Slab Foundation Damage

Aug 25, 2016

Categories: Foundations

As foundation repair experts in, South Carolina foundation repair experts in, South Carolina, we’ve helped homeowners repair foundation damage due to moisture and water damage. Usually, homes are built in locations where the land is solid, and no signs of flooding are present. But, sometimes, water can be diverted back to a person’s property because of heavy rainfall or disruption to the land because of surrounding construction. If this happens, there can be a considerable amount of damage done to a home’s cement slab foundation, so it is important that homeowners know the signs of what to look for, as well as how to remedy the situation.

Symptoms of Water Damage to the Foundation

Water damage is pretty easy to find if the home has a basement. There will be a musty smell present when you walk inside. Mold will cover the walls and any possessions that are kept in the area. The floor might also have mud or water stains on it. But, if there is no basement in the house, finding water damage is a little trickier. A walk around the outside of the home will show that there is grass or vegetation that seems to always be greener in one area while the rest of the yard looks dry. There could be mud on the ground and an increase of insects present. If there is a break directly below the home’s exterior facade, such as bricks or stones that are showing, these might be falling out. Also, after a rain storm, the carpet or walls inside the home might seem musty and damp.

Potential Foundation Problems

Water can cause serious foundation problems and damage to the home’s structural integrity. With constant moisture present, the cement slab supporting the home will crack and crumble over time. This can lead to a lack of support for the home’s weight, which will cause it to be unevenly distributed suddenly. If there isn’t an even weight balance, doors will not hang straight, underlying support beams can break, and the walls will crack. The repair bills for these types of damage are very expensive. Increased moisture will also draw insects inside the home, which can cause even further damage, and it will affect the home’s air quality too.

How to Avoid Water Damage

Water damage can be prevented if wet areas are found in time. As soon as an area of the yard seems to be staying saturated with water, a French drain should be built there. French drains are traps for the water to seep into, instead of accumulating near the foundation of the home. First, a pit is dug into the ground. The size of it depends on the amount of water that tends to accumulate. It has to be large enough to collect any excess rainfall too, so usually, a French drain is several feet deep and several feet wide. Once the soil is removed, the pit is filled with gravel. Sometimes, people like to put some soil on top of the gravel to conceal the French drain. It will generally erode or sink into the gravel over time though. It is crucial that French drains are built far enough away from the foundation to prevent adding to the moisture problem. And, it is important to note that depending on the size of the house, more than one French drain might be needed. Another solution to water accumulation near the foundation is to add eave-spouts that collect the rainfall from the roof and carry it down and away from the bottom of the house. Just be sure that the bottom piece is long enough, so the rain flows several feet away. The eave-spouts can also be used to direct water to the French drain.