Top Ways to Avoid Foundation Problems

If you are in the process of building a home, the best way to avoid future foundation problems is to carefully vet the company you hire to construct the house. Nothing replaces good workmanship. However, if you live in an existing home, chances are you will experience foundation issues at some point. We have some ways to avoid foundation problems occurring in the future.


Before you deal with the interior of the house, you should prep the outside. Having a level landscape means water has time to sit and flow straight down next to the foundation. The moist soil presses against the walls and eventually can cause cracks. Grading is an important part of moisture control. Make sure the land around your home angles at a gentle slope over several feet away from the foundation.

Be careful about planting trees and shrubs too close to the house. As they grow, the roots will spread and travel to press against the foundation. They also shift the soil around them, and shifting soil can affect your home’s foundation.

Outside Drainage

Properly functioning gutters with downspouts and long extensions channel rainwater away from the house so the moisture doesn’t get absorbed by the soil near the foundation. Water should funnel out at least 5 feet from the home, but farther is even better. There are also underground water drainage systems you can install that funnel water to a desired location.

Moisture Levels

If you live in an area that experiences severe temperature changes, periodically check your soil to see if it is bone dry. In a desert climate, that’s not too much of an issue, but if your area also gets heavy rains, dry soil can become a problem. It quickly becomes saturated, swells, and presses into the foundation. Keep soil moisture levels as consistent as possible.

Pay Attention

One little crack isn’t a big deal, right? Not at the moment — but it will get bigger and potentially weaken the structural integrity wherever the crack is located. Take care of any issues as you spot them; do not wait for things to get worse. Even if your basement only flooded once, that’s one too many times. It means there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.


Most people open a window or two in the main areas of a house to let in some fresh air, but basements often aren’t aired out. The air in a basement tends to stagnate because there’s minimal airflow. If you can, run a fan or two to keep the air dry. Crack open a few basement windows for a little while. Outside moisture may come in but you can mitigate this with the fans and by using dehumidifiers.

Sump Pumps

Like anything else with a motor, a sump pump must be maintained to stay in working order for when you need it. At least twice a year, check the sump pump to make sure it is functioning correctly. Test the activation mechanism by pouring several gallons of water in the basin. Also look at the wiring to determine if anything is fraying and needs to be replaced.

For any sump pumps you have, purchase a battery backup. Most sump pumps run on electricity, and a battery backup will allow the pump to function in the event of a power failure.

Acculevel Installs Drainage Systems

Acculevel has specialized in wet basements and foundations since 1996, and we know how to keep them dry, including various drainage options. We believe in being honest about what needs to be done and won’t try to charge you for unnecessary repairs. If your basement or foundation is fine and doesn’t require work, we will tell you that. Our prices are fair and we only use quality materials. So if you live in the Midwest and need an expert opinion on your basement and foundation issues, contact us at 866-669-3349 or email us at [email protected].

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Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
What Do Freezing and Thawing Do to Your Foundation?
What Is an Anchor Foundation Repair?
What Is Foundation Shearing and Are Repairs Effective?

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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