With our unpredictable weather, we need to be prepared for everything from tornadoes and flooding to heatwaves and drought. All that can have a tremendous impact on your home and its foundation—and not in a good way.
The good news is that Orlando is at a very low risk of earthquakes and even lower risk of volcanic eruptions! However, we’re at considerably more risk of tornadoes. And, of course, our precipitation ranges from nearly eight inches a month during June, July, and August to better than two inches a month the rest of the year.
How can you protect your home and foundation from everything that Mother Nature dishes out? Read on to learn more.
Protect Your Foundation From Water Damage
Heavy rain soaking the soil around your foundation, along with a great deal of water from your roof, gutters, and downspouts, can find its way around and into your home’s foundation. That can lead to flooding or increased moisture in crawl spaces.
To prevent flooding, you’ll need to ensure there are no cracks in your foundation. Any cracks should be repaired as soon as possible. You can also consider crawl space solutions including waterproofing or encapsulation with a vapor barrier.
Excess moisture can also lead to mold and mildew as well as pest infestation. This can be addressed using a dehumidifier, along with fans for improved air circulation and various waterproofing options.
Foundation Damage From Dry Spells
The soil around your foundation can expand with rain and contract during dry spells. Your irrigation system needs to fill in the moisture gaps, providing just the right amount of water to prevent foundation heave and settlement.
Slab foundations often have more of an issue with heave than other foundation types. Heave is when moisture causes the soil beneath the slab to expand, pushing upward and causing cracks. This is compared to foundation settlement where the soil compresses and the foundation settles.
Given all this, it’s easy to see that dry spells can be just as damaging to foundations, as can extreme rainfall and storms.
Landscape, Trees, and Shrubs
There’s also your landscape to take into consideration. For example, trees can send out significant root structures in order to find the water they need during dry spells. This can lead to excessive drying of the soil around your foundation as well as physical damage due to expanding roots under the foundation.
Similar issues arise with your shrubs. Make sure your plantings are not too close to your foundation and that your irrigation system is adjusted correctly for our changing weather conditions.
Drainage, Gutters, and Downspouts
Landscape irrigation can help keep the right level of moisture around your foundation. But heavy rainfall and storms can send a waterfall onto your soil and foundation. It’s prudent to ensure your landscape grading and slope help move the water away from the foundation.
You also need to take into account gutters, downspouts, and the extensions that direct the water off the roof and well away from the foundation. Plus, make sure your gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and obstructions that impede the flow of water and lead to flooding from the roof.
Insulate Your Crawl Space
In Orlando, average temperatures range from 90+ degrees in the summer months to lows of 50 degrees in the winter. With that in mind, you wouldn’t think insulation would be needed; after all, there would be no freezing pipes.
However, thermal insulation can be made from a hydrophobic material that provides a moisture barrier as well as insulation. Plus, the insulation will keep the temperature consistent in the crawl space. This helps both with energy costs as well as preventing temperature-related expansion and contraction of your foundation, which can lead to foundation cracks.
Be Prepared for Natural Weather Events
That’s quite a bit to digest and consider for your home. This is where we can help. The expert team at Florida Foundation Authority offers free inspections and repair estimates to identify any issues that could lead to weather or foundation damage.