How To Make Sure A Concrete Foundation Will Last
Installing and maintaining a concrete foundation is an investment in an entire building. There are a lot of factors that determine how many years you'll get out of one, but fortunately, many of these factors are within your control. Here are three tips for getting the most out of a foundation made of concrete.
Directing Water Away
Water will find its way into a foundation no matter how well-built the structure is. Although things like waterproofing can definitely help, the simplest solution is to make sure there's as little water next to the base of a building as possible.
You should start from the top of the house and work your way down. This means making sure the roof is in good shape and that there are gutters present. Water from the gutters needs to be thoughtfully directed away from the building. Once water has made its way to the ground, you can also install channels or pipes to give it further encouragement to go away. At the level of the foundation, you can install French drains to ensure water that does make it to that point is still directed away.
It's easy to think of the water threat as only coming from the outside. A musty, humid basement, though, can do more damage than years of heavy rainfall. Not only will water condensate from the air, but it will also bring organisms with it that will set up shop in any cracks that develop. Over time, they will expand, causing the cracks to get worse.
The best solution is to make sure the basement is as thoroughly climate controlled as the rest of the building. Even if you live in an extremely dry part of the country, don't assume that solves the problem. A basement functions as a cave, and it will create favorably cool conditions for condensation.
Obviously, one of the main reasons to use a concrete foundation is durability. While there's nothing wrong with being confident, you should conduct a visual inspection every year using a flashlight. Check for signs of water stains and mold growth, as these are indicators that water is winning. If the walls on the inside have been painted or waterproofed, check for materials flaking off or cracking. Look at the floors, too. If it has been more than five years since a professional inspected a foundation, schedule a visit even if you don't see trouble.
Reach out to a company like Atlas Master Companies for more information.