How To Check Your Foundation
Many DIY enthusiasts spend their weekends caulking bathroom tiles, insulating breezy basements, or weather stripping the house for winter, and all the while neglecting to check your foundation. The foundation is one of the most important parts of the home and its health is directly tied to the longevity of the house.
From the day it was built, it begins settling. A massive amount of weight shifts every time a beam weakens, a bolt settles, or the foundation cracks. This natural aging can wreak havoc on your home. It is not immediately or obviously catastrophic, but it is slow, chronic and, oftentimes, goes unnoticed until it is too late.
Checking out the foundation is no easy task. You might have to get a bit dirty as you crawl around the house. The concrete on the outside of the house should be smooth. It may be a good idea to check just after a rainstorm because the small cracks fill with moisture and appear as dark spots on the wall. You can take picture to remember where you saw these little cracks.
Cracks can also exist on the inside. The groundwater can push through the dirt and into the subterranean parts of your basement wall. A flashlight can provide some intense light so that you can see the cracks clearly. Once you’ve made an inventory of all the cracks and fissures, you can get cracking on your foundation repair.
Old rotten mortar should to be cleaned out of the cracks. An old putty knife, screwdriver or anything blunt can be used to break away the moldy stuff. Then a wire brush is handy for cleaning away the dust and debris. An old broom or brush can really finish the job of cleaning the stuff out.
A good grout comes in two parts sand and one part cement. A quality mix will show every grain of sand covered in some cement, and that’s when you know it is time to add the water. The water added to the mixture makes it really thick and pouring it slow will ensure the right consistency. The final grout batter will resemble a thick cake batter.
A trowel can really get into the cracks with the mortar, making it look like the original foundation. Of course, this is only plausible as a do-it-yourself job if the cracks are small. If you’re unsure about the state of your foundation, then be sure to call in a professional to inspect your home; he’ll be able to tell you if mild cracking is something you can take care of yourself, or if you have a larger issue that needs to be addressed. In most cases, they can refer you to trustworthy contractors who can repair your foundation and help waterproof your building against future damage.