You take great pride in your home and are quite conscious of curb appeal. You’ve added a fresh coat of paint to your home, carefully tended the flower beds in your front yard and adorned your front porch with cozy decorations, and yet it still seems like something is missing when you stand back and admire your handiwork.
Could it be your home’s foundation?
A dingy, cracked and crumbling concrete base can detract from all of your other hard work. But aesthetics isn’t the only reason to pay attention to your home’s foundation. Giving it a little TLC can ward off larger headaches and costly repairs. Let’s take a look at what you can do to care for your home’s foundation.
Repair Small Cracks
Small cracks that appear in the concrete are normal and not a huge cause for concern. They can crop up for a number of reasons, but expansion and contraction in the subsoil is usually the culprit. Repair hairline cracks to help the concrete maintain its integrity and to avoid having the cracks grow larger. Concrete patch material is sold in caulk-like tubes and is very easy to apply. Clean the crack thoroughly and let it dry (if needed) before adding any repair material.
Evaluate Need for Larger Repairs
Larger foundation cracks should be looked at by a professional, especially if they occur in a zig-zag pattern or there is other evidence of a sagging foundation. Sometimes the ground underneath a home will shift enough to cause part of the foundation to sink, causing numerous problems inside, such as sloped floors, windows and doors that are difficult to latch, and cracks in the drywall, especially where walls meet the ceiling or floor.
According to Level Pro Foundation Repair, other signs of major foundation problems include slanted chimneys and water seepage, especially around doors and windows. The solution in such cases is to re-level the foundation, which requires special equipment to raise the home and add material underneath to correct the alignment.
Besides cracking and being an eyesore, foundations can be a major pain thanks to concrete’s permeability. Small amounts of water can pass through concrete, causing damp basement walls, mold and mildew problems, and even puddling or flooding.
Fortunately, concrete is relatively easy to waterproof. A sealant can be painted over the concrete to physically block water from entering. But it’s also important to make sure water flows away from your home’s foundation and doesn’t pool around the concrete. The slope of the land around your home may need to be adjusted, which requires equipment like a backhoe. Also make sure your rain gutters are clean and in good working order, and that downspouts point away from your home.
Add Some Decoration
If your foundation isn’t cracked, sagging or causing any moisture problems, chances are it still sticks out like a sore thumb. Plain concrete can be boring. Fortunately, it’s easy to jazz up your home’s foundation with some simple decoration. Try adding a layer of stucco to add some color and texture, or add a faux stone panel to immediately make your home look regal.
You can also pressure wash the concrete to restore its bright, like-new appearance, but keep in mind that you may need to reapply a sealant after blasting the concrete with a high-powered pressure washer. Finally, hide the foundation altogether with some carefully placed evergreen shrubs.
Tending to your home’s foundation may be the last chore on your mind, but it’s vital that this part of your home—without which the rest of the structure literally could not exist—be well-maintained.
About the author:
Cathy Habas is a freelance writer based in Louisville, KY. She specializes in simplifying home improvement projects for the hectic lives of everyday people. Cathy is also a contributing writer for Dirtwirx.com.