A building’s foundations are designed to distribute its weight evenly and provide a solid base that helps ensure structural integrity. You need to use the right type of foundation, such as pile foundations where ground conditions aren’t suitable for heavy loads, and it’s vital the correct steps are taken to ensure durability. Here are some helpful tips on protecting your building’s foundations so you don’t face costly repairs later down the line.
Look after the surrounding landscape
If the soil around a foundation becomes too dry in hot weather, it can shrink causing a building’s foundations to shift. To avoid this, keep the surrounding landscape watered, particularly in summer, and try to avoid planting trees too close to foundations as plants will absorb moisture in the soil contributing to dryness. Conversely, overly moist soil can also cause problems, so ensure there’s good drainage on the building and that drains are clear of debris, particularly after heavy rainfall.
Protect pipes from corrosion
Rust forming on steel pipes can cause serious structural problems, so it’s vital to prevent corrosion and treat it as soon as it occurs. There are various ways to safeguard pipes from rusting, such as applying a protective coating or using a cathodic protection system. Steep pipes can also be jacketed with concrete or wrapped in fiber laminate to provide an extra layer of protection from corrosion caused by water.
Repair cracks in foundation walls
Most foundation cracks are caused by excess water. Not all cracks are significant enough to worry about, but large ones, particularly those which are letting water into the building or expanding into nearby blocks, should be treated as soon as possible. There are various ways to repair foundation cracks, including underpinning them with piers and using wall anchors, straps or steel beams. You can prevent cracks by ensuring the building has good drainage and that gutters are cleared regularly.
Related: How to Start Building Your New Home
Look out for foundation sinking
If you notice your building sinking, make sure you get it checked out immediately. This can be a sign that something isn’t right with your foundation which could lead to safety issues as well as costly repairs if it’s not addressed quickly. Your foundation may need to be lifted and supported with piers placed around the perimeter. The best way to prevent sinking is to ensure a thorough soil test is conducted by a soil engineer before the foundation is built.