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How Gutters Can Protect Your Home’s Foundation

In Residential Blog Posts by John Topa

When most people consider foundation issues, they automatically think about things like poor construction, changes in soil conditions, natural disasters, and termite infestations. However, one of the most common culprits actually involves poor drainage. Specifically, many homes suffer foundation issues as a result of problems with their home’s gutter system. If you’re unaware of the relationship between your home’s gutter system and foundation, then it’s time to educate yourself.

Water & Your Foundation

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Water causes foundation damage when it is allowed to pool around the base of a property. Pooling water can saturate the earth along a home’s foundation. That wet soil puts pressure on the foundation. It can cause the foundation to push inward and crack, or it can cause basement walls to bow inward. When the soil dries, it puts less pressure on foundation. It can also erode away. The decreased soil pressure on the foundation allows the foundation to settle. That can upset structures like walls and chimneys, causing cracks, unevenness and leaning. If water continues to pool around the home once the foundation is cracked or weakened, it can cause flooding within the home, or mold growth in the home’s walls.

How Can Gutters Protect Your Home’s Foundation?

Gutters are your foundation’s primary defense against pooling water. Gutters catch water as it rolls off your roof and channels to a downspout. The downspout safely deposits the water a safe distance from your home or into a more extensive drainage system. When gutters are cracked, missing, pulling away from the home or clogged, there is a major risk to your home and your foundation. With a failing gutter system, the water that runs off of your roof each time it rains or when snow falls directly against your home’s foundation.

Gutter Erosion Types

There are two types of erosion that indicate your gutter system is either not present, or not functioning properly. These erosion types can cause negative long-term effects on your home foundation.

  • Drip Line Erosion – This type produces an eroded area directly under the roofline.

  • Gutter Discharge Location Erosion – This type produces noticeable erosion around your downspout.

One way to prevent rainwater from eroding soils around the home foundation is to collect and direct the roof runoff away from the home using a well-designed and installed gutter system.

How to Prevent Foundation Problems Resulting From Your Gutters

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Adding a Gutter System to Your Home Roofline

Water that falls from your roofline will decimate the soils surrounding your home foundation. We recommend that, if you do not have one already, a gutter system be installed to capture rainwater and direct it away from the home foundation with a sufficient gutter extension.

Extend Your Gutter Downspouts

There are many types of extensions you can add to your downspout. Simple downspout solutions are above ground and can be installed at a low cost. If you’re looking for something that is more visually pleasing, you can add an outlet or extension that goes beneath the ground. This option can discharge to another area or even to the curb.

Gutter Maintenance

Leaves, roof particles and other debris can fill and clog your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause the water to overflow and release into places it’s not meant to.

Get a Professional’s Opinion

If you suspect your home foundation may be at risk of erosion, contact Helicon to inspect your property and help you protect and maintain your home foundation.