Protect your Foundation from the Next Harvey

Water Damage Katy, Water Damage Cleanup Katy, Water Damage Repair KatyWater backup occurs when the water around the foundation of your home exceeds the capacity of removal systems to drain it. As Houstonians know, water backup can occur from slow seepage of groundwater into the foundation walls or sewer systems overflowing after a rainstorm. So even if your home didn’t flood during Hurricane Harvey, take some precautions to prevent future water damage by using three easy strategies that will give you peace of mind the next time heavy storms hit. Remember, always contact a water damage restoration company for professional expertise and assistance if you do experience any type of water damage to your home.

Ensure Good Drainage

Poor drainage weakens your foundation and causes cracks, uneven settling, and pathways for water to enter your home. Some areas of Houston are more susceptible to flooding due to existing floodplains and what is under your home. Soils in the Houston-metropolitan area are an eclectic mix of many components, including sand, loam, and clays.  Overwhelmingly, dark gumbo clay is the major soil type within the Houston city limits. On the outskirts of Harris County and surrounding cities, however, other soil types can predominate.

According to Dr. Steve George and the Texas Cooperative Extension, historically the native terrain of this part of Texas was made up of: 

  • Coastal Prairies (within Houston city limits, Friendswood, and cities to the South). Coastal Prairies were comprised of salt marshes, slowly draining prairies and swampy woodlands. The soil in these areas is typically dark calcareous “gumbo” clay that drains poorly.
  • Piney Woods (eastern limits of Harris County and cities to the East including Beaumont, Nacogdoches, Livingston, Palestine, parts of Tyler). Soil texture in the Piney Woods Region is typically sand or even the less fertile “sugar” sand.  Sugar sand has very little organic matter and does not hold moisture or nutrients well but does have excellent drainage capabilities.
  • Savannahs (northern and western limits of Harris County and cities to the North and West, including Conroe, Huntsville, Hempstead, Bryan-College Station, parts of Tyler). Savannas are grasslands that may or may not have trees.  Sand predominates the soil type and it is usually deep and well drained.                                                  

However, the creation of residential subdivisions may have greatly impacted the native soil.  Filler “trash” clay is commonly added on top of the native soil to raise the grade above street level. In these situations, homeowners may find that they only have 1 to 2 inches of topsoil and what is below that can be anything. 

What Can You Do?

  • Make sure your yard is sloped at least 6 inches over a 10-foot span away from your foundation. That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause walls to lean, crack the masonry, and create leaks.
  • Adjust landscaping and irrigation so that water flows away from the foundation.

Keep the Gutters Clear

In Houston, the Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) provide beautiful shade and architectural structure of our yards. With its columnar trunk, attractive reddish-brown bark and fast-growing habitat produce millions of pale green needles. However, a buildup of dead pine leaves can take an indirect toll on your home’s foundation.

What Can You Do?

  • Clean your gutters routinely. A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.
  • Inspect your gutters’ capacity – after fifteen minutes of heavy rain, if water overflows the gutters, install additional downspouts.
  • Ensure your downspouts direct water 5 to 10 feet away from your house.
  • Cleaning gutters can be a no-cost DIY job, or you can hire a pro for $50 to $250, depending on the size and height of your home.

Check for Water Leaks and Fix Them

Persistent leaks lead to mold and mildew, rot, and even termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing soggy wood since it’s soft). Yet if you fix a leak soon after it starts, there may be no long-term damage at all. 

What Can You Do?

  • Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course, drips.
  • At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.

If Your Home DOES Get Flooded:

Use the services of a professional water mitigation company to sanitize, dry and prevent mold growth. ServiceMaster Restoration by Century uses a six-step water clean up process that successfully restores your home to pre-water damage condition and can help you get your home back.