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Landscaping Tips That Will Protect Your Home Foundation

Your home foundation usually doesn’t become a topic of conversation until something bad (and expensive) happens to it. When it cracks or floods, you call us to assess it and repair it. 

While we appreciate your business, there are things you can do this summer that will save you a lot of stress and money. One of the ways to protect your home foundation is to do landscaping, the right way. 

Here are five landscaping tips that will help you protect your home foundation:

  1. Plant trees away from your home foundation: This sounds like it should be pretty obvious, but I have spoken with many clients who love trees and have planted them too close to the foundation. Soon, the roots grow and break through the foundation, causing costly damage. So, plant trees far away from the foundation. 
  2. Leave sections of the home foundation exposed. Too much moisture is also bad for the foundation. Leave some of it visible so it is not moist year-round. 
  3. Don’t cover drains and outlets. Keep all drains and outlets open. Avoid planting anything in front of it which will impede it from draining.
  4. Flower beds should slope away from the foundation. Check the grading of your landscaping. It should not have any water pooling around the foundation. A 9”-10” drop is recommended for the first ten feet around the home. This prevents moisture from accumulating under the home foundation (5% slope away from the foundation). Erosion will occur if there is no slope. 
  5. Water evenly in the areas that are not landscaped. Don’t focus on just one area of the land around the home for landscaping. The soil will eventually expand as it’s likely to be watered the most. As we have discussed in past blogs, expansion of the soil leads to cracks in the foundation. Watering the area around the home evenly will protect the home foundation from eroding from too much water or moisture. 

As you can see, landscaping is a crucial part of taking care of your home foundation. Keeping it from getting too much water or not enough water, is quite important to the health of your home foundation. It takes a few hours a month, but it may save you many heartaches and give a lot of your money to home foundation repair contractors like myself. 

M Taylor Enterprise home foundation repair contractors can consult in Prince George, Montgomery County, and Howard County, MD. If you have seen any of these cracks in your home foundation, call our home foundation and structural repair experts in Maryland at (301) 649-3406 or matt@mtaylorenterprise.com. We will do a free consultation, make recommendations then do any needed repairs done quickly and efficiently. 

How to Grade the Soil Next to Your Home’s Foundation

Your home depends on its foundation.

And your foundation needs  proper soil grading around its perimeter. Grading prevents excess water from eroding , heaving, and cracking the foundation, causing the need for foundation repair.

Once the foundation cracks, the walls can  begin to bow, doors and windows don’t close correctly and a whole list of home structural problems ensue.

grading home foundation M Taylor Enterprise

It’s crucial that the home foundation grading is done properly.  A qualified contractor determines the required grade. An excavator uses the home  foundation footprint to create the grade.

Then, the home foundation grading begins. Here are the steps:

  1. Grading is most important in the fill wedge of the foundation. The fill wedge is the soil  next to the foundation that was excavated to build the home, then later soil is pushed back to ‘  backfill’ the foundation after the home is constructed . The backfill wedge is roughly the first 4’  of soil around the house The backfill wedge is rarely tamped in lifts for proper compaction. The soil settles over decades.
  2. Mulch is  added over time to add to the problem. To improve the grading remove mulch and small plants from around the house and area must be cleared of all rocks, tree roots and other debris.
  3. Grading begins. Use a clay based soil, once tamped clay sheds water much better than topsoil . The new graded soil must be tamped with a hand tamper or a plate vibratory gas tamper.
  4. Add mulch over the newly  graded area. Make sure the new elevation of the backfill  material is at least four inches  below the bottom siding piece.
  5. Make sure gutters and downspouts are clean, add downspout extensions as needed. Taller window wells are often needed during a regrading job.

Once this is completed, you should have a home foundation grade that will protect your home’s foundation and keep your property from being damaged by heavy rains and water damage.

If you suspect your home’s foundation may need to be graded, contact out experienced home foundation grade contractors at M Taylor Enterprises in the Montgomery County, MD, Silver Spring , MD or Washington, D.C. area and diagnose the problems and give you an estimate. We get the job done quickly and efficiently. Call us at (301) 649-3406 or email us at matt@mtaylorenterprise.com.