All of the states in the Midwest are notorious for their unpredictable weather. No state suffers, however, quite like Indiana. With lake effect precipitation in the north and fluctuating temperatures in the south, even the weathermen can’t predict what an average day in Indianapolis, IN, is going to look like.
This means that it’ll be all the more difficult for you to determine whether or not you want to waterproof your foundation. By taking on waterproofing measures, however, you work in advance to protect your home from any potential leaks.
Foundation leaks, in particular, are common in Indianapolis, IN. Blame it on the fluctuating weather or something else – if you have an unprotected basement, you’re likely to spend some amount of time as a homeowner clearing water out of your home.
What can you do to protect your belongings and foundation? Let’s explore the basics of foundation waterproofing and the kinds of cracks with which Indiana residents frequently contend.
Signs of a Cracked Foundation
Before you reach out to a contractor, you need to determine whether or not you have a crack in your foundation at all. Standing water isn’t the only sign of a cracked foundation. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Fogging windows – As water evaporates in your basement, it will cling to your gutter windows in an attempt to remain in its gaseous form.
- Unpleasant smells – Dampness and standing water both contribute to any negative smells that may fester in your crawl space or basement. If you’ve cleaned your home top to bottom and it still smells unpleasant, you may have a crack on your hands.
- Mold – Mold loves nothing more than a dark, damp place to grow. If you notice mold clusters popping up in the joints of your home, you definitely have a leak on your hands.
- Pest infestations – If water can get into your home, then pests can get into your home. Keep an eye out for droppings, nests or unusual insect activity. These critters will typically point you straight back to the origin of your home’s leak.
- Water damaged belongings – Even if you don’t see standing water in your basement, you’ll want to keep an eye on any belongings you have stored away. If your important documents start to curl, fabrics start to rot, or wood starts to stick, then you’re dealing with excess dampness in your home.
- Standing water – Finally, standing puddles of water are an obvious sign that your basement or crawl space is leaking. If you’re not able to easily find the source of these leaks, it’s more than likely that they originate in your foundation.
Different Types of Foundation Cracks
The good news is that your foundation can only crack in so many ways. Once you’ve determined that a leak is, in fact, coming from your foundation, you’ll need to determine which of the following cracks have appeared:
- Vertical – Vertical cracks tend to appear in newer basements. Sometimes, the contractors who build a home will use green wood for that home’s supports. While this wood is especially supple, it does not retain its rigidity when exposed to precipitation, especially in the long-term. As a result, you may notice your basement or crawl space walls starting to bend when this wood is exposed to water and you suffer a vertical crack.
- Horizontal – Comparatively, horizontal cracks tend to appear in homes with foundations made of brick or concrete. These foundations have a tendency to settle. This means that as the weather warms, the materials expand. Likewise, as the weather cools, these materials contract. If the weather changes too quickly, then your foundation will snap to try and continue abiding by the laws of physics.
- Diagonal – Diagonal cracks appear for the same reasons that horizontal cracks appear. However, you’ll know you have a diagonal crack on your hands if one side of your home settles more frequently than the other. Diagonal cracks are wider on one side, with the widest end leaking the most.
Preventing Your Foundation From Cracking
There are several steps you can take to keep water from making its way up through your foundation into your home. These steps include:
- Waterproof your foundation – There are several waterproofing solutions available to you when you first build or move into a home. These solutions include French drains, sump pumps, temporary sealants, vapor barriers and dehumidifiers. Consider stacking these solutions to keep your foundation as dry as possible.
- Be careful with your landscaping – Tree roots can weasel their way into your foundation and disrupt its structure. Make sure trees and bushes with extensive root systems are planted at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home.
- Clean your gutters – If you don’t clean your gutters, then excess precipitation will come straight down onto the perimeter of your home. As a result, it’ll leak straight into your foundation, where you’ll have to contend with it alongside a potential crack. That’s all the more reason to keep your gutters clean!
The weather in Indianapolis, IN, may be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared. Talk to your local contractor today about the additional foundation waterproofing solutions available to you.