It all started with cracks.
One day you looked up and noticed cracks in the drywall in your dining room that you had never seen before. Curious, you checked the kitchen and the living room. More cracks.
Then came a nice spring day and you decided to open some windows. After wrestling with a stuck sash in window after window you began to think that something was wrong.
So, you called out a foundation repair expert and he gave you the bad news – due to last year’s drought, the foundation of your house had dropped on one end and all those cracks and stuck windows were the symptoms of a bigger problem.
After a thorough inspection he gave you an estimate to repair the damage and, though you knew it was fair, it was a significant expense. Then it hit you – maybe my homeowner’s insurance will cover this!
Homeowner’s Insurance Typically Will Not Cover Structural Foundation Repairs
Unfortunately, that call to your insurance agent is probably going to disappoint you.
Homeowner’s insurance is a form of property & casualty coverage that is intended to protect the structure, property and contents of your home. A key concept of any insurance coverage of this type is that it is designed to protect your and your home from “sudden and accidental” losses, such as fire, theft and flood damage.
By its very nature, structural foundation damage caused by changes in soil conditions and/or hydrostatic or lateral water pressure is neither sudden nor really accidental. As a result, it probably won’t be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. The conditions that contribute to structural foundation damage are considered to be avoidable by keeping up with home maintenance, which make it doubly important that you take action to avoid structural damage and the costly repairs that follow.
What Can I Do to Prevent Structural Foundation Damage?
Admittedly, drought conditions are beyond your control but there are still several things you can do to avoid suffering foundation damage. They all involve managing water outside your home because it is the water in the soil that surrounds your foundation that has the biggest impact on its integrity.
- Keep Gutters Clean and Flowing – The easiest thing you can do is to maintain your gutters so that water flows freely through them and doesn’t spill over and saturate the soil around the foundation.
- Extend Downspouts Away from the House – If your downspouts are discharging water right next to the foundation, it doesn’t matter how clean your gutters are. Underground downspout extensions will carry water away from your foundation without creating an unsightly mess that complicates normal lawn care.
- Be Careful with Landscaping – Don’t plant trees or shrubs too close to the foundation, heap soil or mulch against the foundation or allow borders of planting beds to create dams that hold water near the house.
- Check Your Grade – Make sure the grade of your lawn isn’t “reversed” – slanting toward the house so that water runs back toward the foundation instead of away from it.
So, the best way to avoid the expense of structural foundation repairs is to do everything you can to prevent structural foundation damage. The best way to accomplish this is with the help of a basement waterproofing expert that can show you the best and most cost-effective ways to manage water around your foundation.
At U.S. Waterproofing, we know how to do yard drainage. Our experts have a full set of tools at their disposal, including exterior drain tile, underground downspout extensions and others. If your problem has already progressed to the point where you need the services of a structural foundation repair expert, our specially-trained structural advisors can recommend the latest and most cost-effective technology to repair your foundation. In either case, why not ask for our free advice?