The objective of a proper maintenance system is to maintain as near constant moisture content of the soil around the foundation as possible. It is important to note that maintaining consistent moisture content of supporting soils is the key to proper foundation performance and to avoid the need for future foundation repair. Excessive moisture can cause the soil to lose its load bearing capacity, thus allowing foundation settlement.
In areas such as Dallas, Fort Worth & Arlington, TX, where expansive clays is present, excessive moisture can cause swelling, while a reduced amount of moisture will cause the supporting soils to shrink and crack.
The following is a list of items to be considered when planning proper foundation maintenance:
1. Maintain positive drainage away from the foundation and install French Drains or Catch Boxes. Never allow water to pool. The recommendation for positive drainage is a slope of 3 to 5% for a distance of at least 10 feet from the edge of the foundation.
2. Replace and compact any lose soil adjacent to the foundation with native soil: DO NOT use sand or a granular material.
3. It is recommended that landscape beds not be placed adjacent to the residential foundation, typically they should be placed a minimum of 5 feet from the edge. If one is placed adjacent to the foundation it should be equipped with a moisture barrier or an area drain. Area drains must be checked periodically to ensure that they are not clogged with. debris and draining freely away from foundation.
4. It is recommended that a tree-free-zone be placed around the foundation. A tree should not be located any closer to the foundation that half of its height at full growth 'or maturity.
5. Check swimming pools and pipes systems for leaks. Check gutter and downspouts for debris and that they are draining freely and away from foundation. .
6. Avoid seasonal drying around the perimeter of the foundation (too dry when soil is pulled away from foundation). .
7. Watering at the perimeter of the foundation should be maintained uniformly during all seasons, to minimize edge soils drying out and possible edge settlement. During hot and dry periods often seen in Texas ensure that adequate watering is being provided to keep the soil from cracking and/or pulling away from the foundation.
8. Complete a visual inspection of your residential foundation semi-annually and address any issues.
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