What Every Landlord Needs to Know About Foundation Maintenance
The most vital part of your rental property is the foundation, and you should guard it well. Since the foundation is out of sight, some landlords often ignore it. One of the worst nightmares that any landlord can face is a foundation problem. That is because it can devalue the property, make it uninhabitable, and the repairs can be expensive.
Studies show that the primary cause of foundation issues is inadequate maintenance. So, if you want to prevent foundation problems in your rental property, foundation maintenance is essential. Foundation maintenance will prevent you from spending an enormous amount of money on repairs.
In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about foundation maintenance. The following things will help you to prevent foundation issues in your property.
1. Regular inspections to check for foundation problems
Conducting a regular foundation inspection is vital because the foundation is mostly invisible. However, there are specific signs of foundation issues, and you should inspect your foundation once you see them on your property. Some of these signs are very prominent, while others are not visible to non-experts.
The signs that you need a foundation inspection include:
Sloping or uneven floors
Cabinets and countertops separating from the walls
Misalignment of doors or windows
Cracks on the walls or floors
Foundation issues in the neighborhood
Once you notice any of these signs, invite a professional to conduct a foundation inspection on your property. Doing this will help you to detect and repair the problems early. As a result, the extent of damage will be lesser and the repair cost will reduce.
We recommend a regular foundation inspection at least once a year, especially during the summer period. Experts will identify minor issues and the ones that require urgent attention during the assessment.
2. Maintain a consistent moisture level around the foundation
As moisture level changes, the soil will expand or contract in response. The process of continuous soil expansion and contractions has significant impacts on the foundation. It is necessary to maintain a steady moisture level around the property’s foundation. That is because excessive drying and wetting will cause massive foundation movement.
In the summer months, when the soil is dry, we recommend that you water your foundation. To do this, you can install a soaker hose or automatic lawn sprinkler. The soaker hose installation should be about one foot from the foundation. Ensure that you do not place the hose against the foundation.
Another option is to install an underground foundation watering system. But this can cause issues during the rainy season and may be expensive to set up.
During summer, you can water the foundation for about 15 minutes a day. Depending on the need, you can increase or decrease the duration. However, the aim is to keep the soil around the foundation moist but not too wet or too dry.
3. Protect your foundation from trees
Trees improve the curb appeal of your rental property. But the roots can cause damage to your property’s foundation. Some trees can absorb as much as 150 gallons of water from the soil every day. If you plant such trees close to your foundation, they will absorb the moisture and make the soil dry. When this happens, your foundation bears the impact.
We recommend that you avoid planting trees close to your foundation. Also, it would be best if you install root barriers to protect your foundation from direct impact from roots.
Tree pruning is another effective way to prevent the growth of roots under the foundation. Avoid trees such as oaks, magnolias, maples, elms, and Bradford pears. They have strong and deep roots that can damage your foundation. Instead, plant drought-resistant trees because they do not take much moisture from the soil.
4. Slope maintenance
At the onset of the construction work, the foundation has a positive slope that takes water away from your house. But following continuous wetting and drying of the soil, you can lose this positive slope. That is why slope maintenance is vital.
Performing slope maintenance will help you to maintain a positive grade. It also prevents the intrusion of water or ponding near the foundation. Ensure that there is proper drainage such that the landscape slopes away from the foundation area. The sufficient grading of your yard should be 2% or 2 inches in 8 feet.
5. Conduct regular plumbing inspection
When there are plumbing leaks, it can change the soil equilibrium under the foundation. As a result, foundation damage will occur. That is why every landlord needs to conduct a regular plumbing inspection every year. The plumber will check for leaks using a hydrostatic test.
In a nutshell
Regular foundation maintenance is essential if you want to preserve the foundation of your rental property. Always hire experts to perform the necessary foundation maintenance.