Foundation Maintenance Guide

These are 9 tips for foundation maintenance in the Los Angeles area. At California Foundations Works, we know it’s important to protect your foundation. By doing that, you can avoid foundation repair issues. So be sure to maintain your foundation and contact. Remember, your house is an investment you want to protect.
These 9 Tips can help you prevent problems such as foundation cracks, leveling, settlement and a variety of other problems:

earthquake retrofit solution


Foundation cracks can pose major problems in all areas of the house. Due to seasonal weather conditions, they frequently create a variety of foundation issues. If you see indications of problems, call a contractor like California Foundations Works. If repairs are needed, we can prevent cracks from getting worse and save you from a costly repair down the road.

Related: Reasons why foundation erodes

window crack


It pays to walk around your foundation every couple of months (particularly in the summer months) and check for any indications of foundation issues. Trailing insects can hasten foundation deterioration so it’s important to fill any holes or hairline cracks you see. If you have a pier and beam foundation, check the crawlspace for signs of moisture, mildew and wood rot.
If your foundation has cracked, you’ll want to inspect it to see how large the cracks are and where they’re coming from. It’s always best to stop cracks when they’re small. If your house is sinking or settling, call a professional for a foundation inspection.

Related: Cracks in the window? here is what to do

foundation moisture


Don’t allow the soil around your house or structure to become exceedingly wet or dry. Because soil in the Los Angeles area expand and contract as moisture levels change, it takes a little work to maintain moisture levels. Remember: The motions created as a result of the expansion and contraction of soil causes cracks. By implementing a water control program, you can prevent lots of damage.
In the warm months, it’s important to water your foundation. While an underground foundation watering system would be excellent, it can be expensive and problematic in the rainy months. A better option may be to use an automatic lawn sprinkler or soaker hose to keep the dirt around your structure slightly moist. If you utilize a soaker hose, install it approximately 3” deep and about one foot away from your foundation. Or, you might consider installing rock beds about 2’ away from your foundation. These beds will allow much-needed moisture to seep into the soil around your foundation and prevent it from cracking. Repairing foundations costs a lot more than a little maintenance does.

Yard drainage


Too much water around a foundation is just as bad as too little and can result in “Settlement .” Settlement is when your foundation rises above its intended position. That’s why it’s important that your property is correctly sloped so that water is directed away from your foundation. Gutters are important, too. It is imperative that they are adequate enough to discharge the large volume of water that may accumulate during heavy rain. In addition, downspouts should be used to discharge water 5-10’ from your foundation if your structure is located in the Los Angeles area. In areas with sandy soil that quickly absorbs moisture, water can be discharged as close as 3’ from the foundation.
If drainage is a problem and water is standing around your foundation, it would be beneficial to have a surface drain installed. In the event smaller amounts of moisture are a concern, a subsurface drain (such as a French drain) can be installed to protect your property from smaller, but highly damaging amounts of moisture. Foundation drainage correction and drainage systems can help solve your issues.

yearly plan


One of the biggest causes of foundation damage is plumbing leaks, particularly under-slab plumbing leaks. These leaks can occur in sewer lines, freshwater lines, sprinkler systems and other parts of your plumbing system. If you suspect you have a plumbing leak, a licensed plumber can perform hydrostatic testing to detect leaks you can’t see or find. Would you like to learn more about hydrostatic testing? If so, please read our glossary of foundation repair terms.

Related: Types of drainage systems

tree root


Trees need moisture to live and massive tree roots will suck the water out of the soil around your structure and damage it. This process is called transpiration. It’s important to note that one sizeable tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water a day from your soil. To protect your foundation, make sure to plant trees an adequate distance from your house (at least 15’-30’away, depending upon the type of trees you plant.) It’s always a good idea to ask your local nurseryman about the moisture needs and anticipated root size of any trees you’re considering adding to your landscape. Want more information about how to protect your house foundation? If so, visit our page that offers tips for protecting your foundation through landscaping.

Related: Foundation Service For Realtors


Install a Boot Barrier If Needed

In the event you already have large trees positioned near your foundation, the best course of action to have a root barrier installed around your property. This barrier, which is implanted in the ground (approximately 3′ deep) and made of plastic, metal or another material, will prevent tree roots from reaching your foundation. Root barriers direct roots down and away from your property.

Make Sure Your Structure Is on a Proper Slope

This is a good tip for maintaining your foundation. Remember: it’s essential to have proper grading so that water drains away from your foundation. The ground around your foundation should be sloping away from it. If it’s not, consider having a moisture barrier installed approximately 5’ deep around your property.

If You Have Foundation Issues, Call a Foundation Contractor for Inspection

Last, but not least, if you see foundation problems, ask a reputable contractor like California Foundations Works to stop by and inspect your house or structure. It’s always best to avoid foundation repairs if possible.


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