It’s a well-known fact that water is the biggest threat to concrete foundations. Your home’s gutter system is designed to reduce the amount of water that gets into the ground near your foundation. Gutters catch the water that flows off your roof when it rains or snows and divert it further away.
Our foundation crack repair service knows all too well the damage a malfunctioning gutter system can cause. Find out how.
What happens when water is not diverted away from the foundation?
Various gutter problems can cause water to seep into the ground in large quantities rather than being diverted away.
For example, when gutters are clogged with leaves, branches or other debris, water cannot flow into the drainpipe. Instead, the gutters overflow and spill water directly onto the concrete foundation.
A drainpipe that discharges too close to a building’s foundation can also lead to water accumulation in the surrounding soil. The Quebec Building Act recommends that water be diverted at least two metres from the foundation.
The concrete slab may lose its support
The soil around your home is affected by weather conditions. It can react in different ways to changes in temperature and moisture content. Some types of soil are particularly sensitive to these shifts. In Quebec, clay soils often have a negative impact on foundations.
If the soil beneath it changes in volume, shifts or washes away due to weather conditions, the concrete slab could lose its support. A heavy load on a part of the foundation that no longer rests on solid ground could cause cracks to appear. Has this happened to you? Don’t panic—contact our concrete slab crack repair team.
Water can saturate and even seep through your foundation
The laws of physics dictate that water always takes the path of least resistance. When it collects near your foundation, the easiest path may prove to be directly into your basement, causing water infiltration, moisture and potentially mould.
If your basement is affected, read our article on dealing with basement water infiltration to find out which steps to take.
Note that if excessive amounts of water saturate the foundation of your home, the excess weight will put pressure on the walls of your basement, which could cause them to move, bow or crack.
Gutter problems due to lack of maintenance
In Quebec, gutters are commonly poorly maintained. This can cause many problems, not all of which are related to the foundation:
When gutters are clogged, the water they collect has nowhere to go. They quickly fill up to the brim, and the extra weight (1 US gallon of water weighs around 3.8 kg) can warp them and even rip them right off the roof.
Damaged walls and ceilings
Clogged gutters can also cause water to leak into your home. The water rots the wood where the gutters are attached and causes moisture to seep into your house. Furthermore, during the long winter months in Quebec, ice dams can result in snow melting through your shingles. As you can see, it’s a good idea to prevent these situations from occurring.
Water collecting in your gutters provides an ideal breeding ground for insects, particularly mosquitoes. Mud and wet leaves also create ideal conditions for bees and wasps to build nests. You’ll likely end up needing a professional extermination service, because these insects reproduce at alarming speeds and do not spare the inhabitants of affected houses.
Gutter problems causing cracks? Contact us!
In conclusion, it’s important to keep on top of your gutter maintenance to prevent damage to your foundation. Make sure that your gutters are clear and your drainpipes are diverting the water far enough away from your house.
If you have read this article because you have cracks in your foundation, water infiltration or mould in your basement, contact Foundation Crack Expert for a free quote. Our team will evaluate your situation and offer the best solution to your foundation problem.