Your home’s foundation is one of the most important parts of the structure, if not the most important part of the structure. It is the part of the home that provides stability, especially in these shifting grounds known as Houston. Many of the housing structures here in Houston and the surrounding area are built on a slab foundation. Your slab foundation, though, is a very vulnerable part of your structure as well. The outside and underneath are subjected to the elements and shifting and eroding soil. Yet, did you know that what’s above can save what is below? Installing gutters can save your slab foundation. First, let’s look at what kind of foundations are found in the Houston area.
Pier and Beam and Concrete Slab Foundations.
Most single-family homes in Texas are built upon two types of foundation: poured concrete slab or pier and beam foundation. Pier and beam foundations (also commonly referred to as “post and beam foundations”) are also commonly found in our area, usually in houses built prior to the 1960’s. With this type of foundation, a home’s treated floor is elevated about eighteen inches from the ground, resting on a series of concrete “piers” or blocks.
Concrete slab foundations are the most common in newer home construction (post 1960’s) because of speed and cost. The house rests on a concrete slab that has been formed and poured. To start, the foundation topsoil must be removed and if well-drained conditions are not present, a layer of gravel several inches thick may be introduced to the site. To create a strong lasting foundation, builders will reinforce the area with steel reinforcing bars, also called “rebar”, and a welded wire mesh. Lastly, before the cement is poured, plumbing and electrical systems are integrated into the area so that once poured, these systems will become encased in the concrete. (https://www.permapier.com/blog/learn-about-texas-home-foundation-types-before-you-purchase/)
Slab Foundation’s Enemy, Rain!
It rains here in Houston, a lot! Rainwater is a direct enemy to slab foundations. When it rains, and water collects near the foundation and even seeps underneath, the soil erodes. Continued water exposure and pooling of water on concrete will also lead to wearing of the concrete. The concrete will also expand and contract with temperatures. With eroding soil and changing slab size, there ends up being space between the poured slab and ground level. The weight of the home will force that slab to find new solid ground, shifting the home. When the slab shifts, so does the rest of the house. This can cause all sorts of problems, from cracks in the walks and brick façade to breaking of any electrical lines or plumbing that has been set into the foundation. This can lead to thousands of dollars in damages and repairs.
Save Your Slab Foundation with Gutters.
Rain gutters on your home are designed to channel water way from the vulnerable parts of your home and property, including your foundation. A properly set up gutter system will channel water away from the base of your home and to a designated area by using downspouts and splash blocks. A splash block placed beneath the downspout elbow helps to disperse water away from the foundation preventing pooling and collection of water at the slab. Splash blocks come in both fiberglass and concrete. Channeling water away from the slab, you can help the soil to maintain a more consistent temperature and prevent soil erosion near and right under your slab. These in turn, prevents the settling and cracking of the foundation, saving you possibly thousands of dollars in foundation damage.
One last thought, if you have cracks in the foundation already due to shifting ground, tree roots or quite frankly previous owners’ negligence, you still want to add a good gutter system to your home if there is not one already there. The last thing you want is water getting into the already formed cracks, causing even more damage and causing that damage quicker than if the foundation was protected.
A.J.’s Gutters have been the gutter experts in the Houston area for over the last 25 years. Contact us at (713) 691-9991 for a free quote and prevent a huge foundation headache today!