Rain gutters and ground spouts, when used correctly, can help protect your home’s foundation. However if it is poorly maintained or incorrectly directed, a gutter system can leave your home on unsettled ground. Water is your foundation’s biggest enemy. Your home’s gutter system is designed to capture water as it runs off your roof, either in the form of rain or melting snow. The water flows into gutters, which are open at the top, and then directed into downspouts. Using gravity, the water flows downward through the downspout pipe and away from your home. Downspouts and gutters are ultimately designed to move water away from a building’s foundation. The soil around your home is sensitive to changes in moisture levels. Certain soil types, like clay, are particularly sensitive to the amount of moisture in the ground. When there’s a lot of moisture in the ground, the soil swells. During dry periods, the soil shrinks and contracts.
A downspout that discharges too closely to a building’s foundation can cause problems. When excessive amounts of water are dumped at your home’s foundation, the water weight exerts pressure on your basement walls, causing them to shift, bow, or crack. Water follows the path of least resistance. When it accumulates near the foundation, the easiest path may be directly into your basement, causing flooding, dampness and, potentially, mold. At the roof level, when gutters are clogged with leaves, branches or other debris, water is prevented from following the natural path toward downspouts. Instead, gutters overflow dumping water directly against the foundation. At the ground level, the further water flows away from a building, the safer the foundation. Building codes recommend that water be diverted at least 10 feet away from a home’s foundation. To do so, utilize downspout extensions, splash blocks or downspout drains.
Cleaning gutters and ensuring your downspouts are directed away from foundations can help protect your home. When used properly, rain gutters are the foundation’s best friend. However, a poorly maintained gutter system can dump a ton of water on your foundation which can put your home in jeopardy. Simple maintenance of your home’s gutter and downspout system can prevent foundation damage. Make sure gutters are clear and downspouts properly connected and directing water away from the home.
If you are worried about your foundation, give us a call here at IWP Foundation Repair. We can provide you with an inspection and if we find any issues, we will also give an estimate for the repairs you require!