Watering your lawn could prevent a leaky basement

St Louis Home Inspectors Gerry LoeschAt present it looks as though 2012 may again be a year to remember for foundation issues. To date, this has been a very dry year. At present, St. Louis is somewhere around 5-6 inches behind in rainfall. You can see the cracks beginning to develop in the grounds. We have also been in the growth cycle for trees during this time and the growing season was advanced due to the unusually warm March.

Basements are also more prone to leakage should we have heavy rains during or following drought spells. Since the ground has cracked due to the drought these cracks create avenues for moisture to find its way to the foundation and into the basement.  Once the drought is over we will also likely have uplift issues to deal with. These result from the swelling of the soil below the basement floor. It swells and pushes up the basement floor and anything on or in the floor such as basement walls, beam columns, plumbing stacks, etc. This can create high spots in the floors above, cracks in the walls and ceilings, as well as binding or skewed door openings.   In my opinion, it is essential that you water the yards and vegetation in the yard to minimize the affect of the drought on the foundation. If trees need water they can draw from under the foundation drying and shrinking the support material for the foundation.


About the author:

Gerry is a licensed Professional Engineer in four states; Missouri, Illinois, Colorado and Kansas. He first began his home inspection career in 1976 and has been active in ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) since 1978. In fact, Gerry’s membership number in ASHI is 87 compared with most of the memberships numbers which are in the 1,000’s. Gerry has performed over 16,000 inspections. Gerry can be reached by email at gloesch@bpgwi.com, by phone 314-249-8370 or visit his website.

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