Properly maintaining a home’s foundation will prevent structural damage such as cracks, slopping floors, broken tiles and bowed walls, as well as doors and windows that don’t open or shut properly. Foundation problems are typically caused by moisture, but can also occur due to variations in temperature, soil expansion and contraction, poor soil compaction and tree roots. Here are some tips that help you increase the longevity of your foundation and avoid costly repairs.

  • Ensure proper drainage. Water should always be directed away from the house. Use gutters and drainspouts to prevent water from accumulating on the roof, running down walls or pooling near the building. Also make sure the ground around the house is graded to slope away from the structure. If necessary, install moisture barriers and drainage channels to prevent water from seeping into your home.

  • Repair any plumbing problems. Moisture build-up from dripping faucets, toilets and pipes can also cause foundation problems. Periodically inspect your plumbing and immediately repair any leaks. Also check sprinkler systems and sewer lines.

  • Keep soil moisture at a constant level. Soil can expand with moisture and contract when it dries, causing settlement problems. Water the soil around your home during dry periods to keep moisture levels consistent with soil under your foundation.

  • Install a root barrier. If there are trees or shrubs planted near your home, install a barrier to prevent roots from growing under the foundation. Make sure any new trees or foliage is planted far enough away from the structure to avoid root problems in the future. Also remove any mulch that accumulates near the house.

  • Weatherproof you home. Properly sealing your house will also prevent damage from moisture and air. This includes plugging any existing holes and cracks, caulking and weatherstripping.

If there are already cracks or other damage to your foundation, contact an experienced and knowledgeable foundation repair company to find out what is causing the damage. A skilled foundation expert can inspect your property and give you valuable advice regarding any repairs that may be needed to prevent further problems.

Keeping your foundation in good condition is extremely important. When a foundation is allowed to deteriorate, the building it supports will become unstable and will eventually collapse. Southern California homeowners in particular need to monitor the condition of their foundation due to the region’s regular seismic activity. Earthquakes can cause even more considerable damage to a home when the foundation is already damaged.