How Rain Can Affect Your Foundation

Rain water flowing from a metal downspout during a heavy rain. concept of protection against heavy rains

How Rain Affects Your Foundation

While many of us dislike the rain, some people dislike it more than others because it can damage their home’s foundation. If your drainage does not work effectively, your foundation can start to suffer. However, it’s not just your drainage that you need to keep an eye on, there are other factors that could affect your home’s foundation. These can include cracks in the foundation and other issues.

Can water cause foundation problems?

Unfortunately, it can. If your home’s drainage isn’t as effective as it could be the water has nowhere to go. This means it’s likely to fall to the bottom of your property and start to cause issues.

If your home’s foundation is not repaired, it could cause serious issues. In some cases, you might even find that parts of your home are beginning to sink. This is a real cause for concern as it means the structure of your entire home could be compromised.

How long does it take for water to damage the foundation?

Surprisingly, it does not take long for the damage to be caused. If your home is not adequately protected the damage could start after the next heavy rainfall. This is because the rain might start to form puddles around your home. The water in these puddles needs to have somewhere to go. If its only option is to go into your foundation, then that’s where it will head.

However, your foundation is unlikely to become severely damaged right away. It will need to be exposed to more water for real damage to take effect. If you tend to live in a part of the country that has a lot of rain, it’s likely that damage will occur quicker than in dryer areas.

It also depends on the age of the foundation and your home. A newer home is less likely to have issues after a heavy storm than an older home. However, no-one can determine exactly how your foundation is going to respond to water damage. Therefore it is important that you deal with any issues as soon as possible. If you spot the signs of water damage, you’ll need to act as soon as you can.

Signs of water damage and foundation problems

There are many different signs of water damage and foundation problems. They each have their own causes and their own solutions. Read on for more information:

Cracked basement foundation wallsCracks in the foundation

Some of the signs of water damage and foundation problems include small cracks. These cracks can start to appear in your concrete foundation. Cracks tend to occur in a concrete foundation no matter how good your drainage is. However, if they’re more than one-eighth of an inch wide you could have an issue. This is because the heavy rain you’re experiencing could be exerting pressure on your foundation. Your foundation is starting to break up and this can be seen in the larger cracks in the concrete.

In addition to this, the cracks could potentially cause water to leak through. Groundwater will make its way into your home if there are cracks in the foundation. This, as you can imagine, can cause even more problems. Some of these problems include the appearance of mold and fungus.

Sinking and settling foundations

When heavy rain reaches the soil that’s located under your foundation it can start to swell. However, when the soil begins to dry our due to a drought this is when problems can start to occur. This is because the soil begins to shrink leaving a gap behind. The foundation then starts to sink into the soil.

Below you will find some signs of sinking and settling foundations:

  • A leaning chimney
  • Cracks in and around the doors
  • Cracks in and around the windows
  • Cracks in bricks that look like stairs
  • Displaced foundations
  • Doors that stick or are hard to open or close
  • Large cracks in foundations
  • Windows that stick

If you spot any of the above signs your home’s foundation could be compromised. This is why it is vital that you deal with the issue as soon as you can. Failure to act could result in more damage and even costlier repairs.

wood door with termites damage
Termite infestations can be a sign of water damage caused by rain.

Insect and Fungal Infestation

When there is moisture in or around your home that has been caused by rain it can encourage insects and fungus. You could find that dry rot will start to eat away at the wooden joists if it is damp enough. In addition to this, you might also find that termites are starting to infest your home.

Termites are notorious for causing damage to homes. This is because the termites eat the wood without any regard for what they are doing. A termite infestation that is not dealt with has the potential to cause hundreds if not thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home.

By waterproofing your foundation and treating any exposed wood you could help to protect it against termite and fungus.

How do I protect my foundation from the rain?

The good news is that you can help to protect your foundation from the rain. While many people are happy to use a French drain, this is not the only option. Below you will find a few methods that can make a real difference:

Check your gutters

Your rain gutters can become full of debris and leaves. When this occurs, rainwater will not be able to flow correctly. This can cause the water to accumulate around your home’s foundation. However, checking your gutters regularly can be useful.

Make sure you check all your gutters after a heavy storm so you can remove any debris. You should check all your gutters in the fall as leaves tend to accumulate very quickly this time of the year. While some people are happy to check their gutters once every six months, this might not be enough. Ideally, your gutters should allow rainwater to flow down the pipes and away from your home. Any debris in the gutters can make a huge difference. Large pools of water can accumulate and start to cause issues. It can run down the side of your home and into the foundation. Therefore it’s imperative that you check your gutters after a heavy storm.

Exterior Basement WaterproofingProtect an old foundation

If your home is an old one, you will need to protect it as much as you can. You might even need to make some adjustments to it. You should note that an older foundation can crumble a lot quicker than a newer foundation. However, you can help to protect it by using a waterproof membrane. A membrane such as this can help to protect your foundation from crumbling, thereby helping it to last longer.

While a waterproof membrane is by no means a permanent solution, it can help to protect your home in the meantime. An inspection of your foundation can determine if waterproofing is an appropriate solution.

Relocate your flower beds

If you have flower beds that are located anywhere near your home’s foundation you should move them. This is especially important if your flower beds contain topsoil. Topsoil is known for its ability to hold all the water that your plants need. This, as you can imagine, can start to cause issues. You might consider avoiding using topsoil as a means of protecting your home. However, this will not solve the issue. You will need to do more.

If you leave your flower bed where it is, it will repeatedly become full of water. Puddles of water could start to accumulate after heavy rain or after the flower bed has been watered. This can adversely affect your home’s waterproof layers and damage its foundation. However, the amount of damage can differ depending on how good your foundation is and its age.

– Look at your plants

Many plants have roots that are very deep. Roots such as these have the potential to fill up and clog your French drains. The roots will try to take over your drains and reach the water that they contain. While this can seem quite an impressive thing for plants to do, it can damage the drain.

Any damage can result in the drain failing to work as well as it should, if at all. This can, therefore, result in water accumulating around your foundation as it does not have the chance to move away.

If you wish to have plants living around your French drain, please use plants that have short roots. Not only are they less likely to damage your drain but they’ll also be easy to remove.

You may also want to check the drain now and again to make sure there are no weeds present. Some weeds if they are allowed to grow can be quite destructive. There is always a potential for them to damage your French drain. Take a walk around the area and be on the lookout for any weeds that you see. Pulling them up now (regardless of how pretty they are) can help to prevent a lot of issues further down the line.

– Use positive slopes

Positive slopes are a type of slope that works to drain the water away from your foundation. They work by helping to prevent surplus water from having an impact on the foundation. Homes that are surrounded by naturally occurring positive slopes are those which are located on top of a hill. The water naturally moves away from the property and down the hill. However, if you live in a home that’s at the bottom of a hill you could have an issue. You might have to adjust your drains, so they are more effective or use another way to move water away from the property.

– Get rid of concreted areas outside your home

If you have concreted areas outside of your home, they could be causing an issue. This is because the water will not have anywhere to run. Instead, it’s likely to make its way into your home’s foundation. If you must have a concreted area outside your home, make sure it’s not joined onto your home. You should have a grassy area in between the concrete and your home. This will help the water to stay away from your home.

In addition to removing concreted areas, you should also remove paving slabs, no matter how decorative they are. Again, the water will not have anywhere to travel, and it could end up in your home’s foundation.

What happens if you don’t fix foundation problems?

If you choose not to fix the problems with your foundation the issue will get worse. Mildew and mold can start to build up, causing the deterioration of any wood in and around your home. If there are cracks in the foundation or brickwork, water could make its way in. it doesn’t matter if the storm is a heavy one or there’s just a little bit of rain. If there’s a chance for water to enter your home, it will.

Your home’s foundation could be compromised within a relatively short space of time. This is why it is vital that you deal with the issue as soon as you can. Failure to act could result in more damage and even costlier repairs.

Another issue that you need to be aware of is the fact that your family’s health could be affected. Mold can get into the air and into your lungs. It can cause breathing difficulties for you and your children. In addition to this, anyone who has asthma or other respiratory issues could find it hard to breathe. When you do not deal with the issues in the foundation you could find that the health of you and your family becomes even worse.

Dealing with the issues now could save your health and your home.


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