Originally Posted By: aslimack
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
As far as i’m concerned, water against the foundation is something to try to minimize. Proper grading and extending downspouts is definitely a do-it-yourself way to REDUCE the amount of water against the foundation.
I will continued to recommend these measures with the same sense of importance i always have.
In my area, many of the cracks you see in block walls are horizontal at the frost line. My thinking is that the more water in the soil, the more likely that the freeze / thaw cycle is going to contribute to the potential for damage. I can't ignore what common sense and experience dictates to me. It seems like a hell of a coincidence that a good number of the homes i inspect with cracks, have poor or poorly maintained gutter systems, or a negative grade in the area in question.
I've seen 80-100 year old homes that were turned into rental properties. I can't ignore that the cracks occured after the maintenance was greatly reduced to the gutters/downspouts. Tenants are notorious for not caring about these things. Failed exterior drains allowed to back up without re-routing with extensions away from the home. Same soil around the home for 80-100 years, they didn't develop a horizontal crack at the frost line until after they were converted to rentals and were therefore, less well maintained. Gutters falling off, disconnected downspouts and extensions, etc.
How many times have we seen a cracked corner of a foundation from the exterior, where a downspout was allowed to drain right at the corner of the wall. Many times the damage will occur in a corner where a below grade drain has failed and the water backed up in that corner. The point in these cases is to not have all that water that would have been carried away below ground, not back up due to the failed drain. I have also seen downspout extensions stop (or lessen considerably) the seepage in these cases.
The water that hits the roof and is then directed into the gutter system is quite significant. Thats alot of square footage of roof, and all that water is laying right next to the home without proper means to drain away.
I can believe that the best way to repair the cracks that do occur, is from the outside. I can certainly buy that.
The idea is to minimize the potential for the crack in the first place. Most of the cracks i see don't appear to leak at all. I think the mentality that trying to reduce the amount of water against the home with gutter, downspout extensions, and proper grading has a minimal impact is flawed. Plain and simple. I've seen it help. A lot. Does it un-crack the crack? Of course not. But the less water against the foundation, the better. And do gutter/downspouts w/ proper extensions as well as proper grading make a big difference. No dought in my mind. I've seen it.
Adam, A Plus