By Ryan Erwin
A damaged foundation is easily the worst problem in your rental property. Because of its position at the base of your structure, a damaged foundation can undermine the function of other parts of your building. If the foundation is in trouble, you may expect the problem to spread to the roof, flooring, walls, and ceilings.
Furthermore, the Granite foundation repair experts team warns a damaged foundation is a hard and costly problem to fix. If it is not detected on time, foundation issues can get to a point where they are virtually impossible to remedy. This problem can even wipe out the market value of your rental property. Untamed foundation issues may serve as a death sentence on the success of an investment property.
But the good news is foundation problems don’t just happen. Before a foundation problem gets to the point where it erodes a property’s value, it would have given warning signs. The issue will only damage the building beyond repair if those warning signs are ignored. Most foundation problems happen because of property owner’s ignorance or negligence.
What can you do to preserve the foundation of your investment property?
Proper maintenance will help to prevent most foundation problems. Small steps you take daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly will let you detect foundation issues early and solve them promptly. Knowing the environmental factors that encourage foundation damage and the proper steps to solve them is also vital.
This post explains the simple steps every landlord can take to protect the foundation of their rental property.
Foundation maintenance tip for landlords
The number one agent of foundation damage is water. Excessive or too little moisture in or around the foundation will cause problems. Excess moisture can enter the foundation through the plumbing or surface runoff. Excessively dry soil around the around the foundation can also pose a problem.
The key to a healthy foundation is to find the balance between too much and too little moisture. The following steps will help you do that.
1. Ensure proper grading
The soil at the base of the building should have a proper slope to allow water to flow away from the foundation instead of toward it. If rainwater or snowmelt is allowed to remain at the base of your building, that water will eventually find its way into the foundation.
2. Keep the soil properly drained
A waterlogged soil is just as bad as soil that is dried out. While the first allows moisture to seep into the foundation, the second problem will extract moisture from the foundation. Events that create waterlogged or dried-out soil should be avoided.
3. Maintain gutters and downspouts
Roof gutters and downspouts can also create problems for your foundation. If water is overflowing from the gutter onto the walls of the building, it will eventually find its way into the foundation. That can also happen if a downspout is discharging its water near the base of the building.
4. Protect the foundation from sprinklers
Do not position lawn sprinklers in such a way that they drench the foundation with water. During the summer, when the soil is relatively dry, set the sprinkler to provide just enough moisture without soaking the soil around the base of the building.
5. Watch the position of flowerbeds
Flowerbeds that are too close to the base of the building will extract too much water from the soil, causing it to dry out. It can also dry out the foundation, making it brittle and liable to crack. Some plants pose a higher threat than others in this regard.
6. Protect the foundation from tree roots
Any shrub that grows to more than three feet in height should not be allowed to grow near the foundation. In addition to removing water from the soil, plant roots can penetrate the foundation or force the foundation upwards by growing beneath it.
7. Avoid basement leaks
Leaky water pipes in the basement can discharge water directly into the foundation. It is a major cause of foundation damage in places with expansive clay soils. Aside from leaky pipes, high relative humidity in the basement or crawlspace will also endanger the foundation.
Educate and orientate tenants
Although foundation maintenance is your responsibility, as the landlord, you can still recruit your tenants to help you. Educate your tenants on how their actions affect the foundation and create avenues for tenants to report any problems with the foundation.
To conclude, early detection of problems is vital when working to keep your building foundation in good condition. However, the problem is that not all foundation issues are visible. That is why it is essential to have a structural energy or other expert inspect the foundation at least once a year. This small step will help you to preempt major problems.