Why Maintain My Home?
Well, the simple answer is because your life and the lives of your loved ones may depend on it some day.
Foundations & Structure - Homes are often positioned on tall, narrow posts, columns & foundations sometimes without bolts and bracing. All structures built on soil or sand – without exception – will experience some degree of foundation settlement. However, hillside buildings are more at risk than others depending on their positioning. Both the type of soil and the type of foundation affect the amount of settling a foundation experiences.
Wood Dry Rot causes more destruction to buildings than fires every year!
Wood dry rot is one of the most damaging forces on a household which can ruin any wooden structures inside or outside your home. Quite often, and especially if you’re not keeping your house regularly maintained, wood dry rot could be in advanced stages without your knowledge. When dry rot occurs, the fungi breaks down the components which give the wood strength and resilience. The wood structure can be left weakened and brittle (see image)
Leaks, both seen and unseen can be devastating to a household.
Mold and Mildew may form if there are leaks in a house. Without attention, mold can continue to grow and may eventually spread to your walls, ceiling, HVAC system, and even your clothes. Both mold and mildew can have serious effects on your family’s health.
Failure of the structural elements of a home and/or lack of maintainance may lead to significant damage and even collapse of your home at any time and especially during an earthquake.
Reasons Why A Building Can Shift & Become Unstable
Differential settlement happens when not all sections of a building are settling at the same rate or in the same direction. This can stress the foundation and distort the home’s frame, throwing everything out of level and plumb. When this happens you may start to notice problems like ceiling cracks, windows and doors that stick, sloping floors, and wall cracks. Severe differential settlement is a sign that the soil under the foundation isn’t capable of supporting it. These signs should be taken seriously. Call a professional to stabilize the home.
Extensive digging can have an adverse effect on surrounding buildings. An example is if you start digging a hole for a swimming pool too close to your home. If you’re not careful, the hole can destabilize your foundation. When this happens, differential settlement can occur.
Water is one of nature’s most powerful forces. Even slowly moving water has the ability to separate a home from its foundation
Improperly compacted soil prior to construction
Foundations need to be built on top of compacted soil. Once soil is disturbed, its density decreases, meaning the soil is no longer compacted and increases in volume. If a structure is not built on top of compacted soils there may be problems.
Expansive soils are soils that can swell wet climates and shrinks when it dries out. This seasonal swelling and shrinking creates soil movement. Some soils can swell and retract by up to 10%. Over a period of time, this can put stress on a foundation which may lead to structural damage.
If a foundation is built on top of expansive soil during a dry season, the soil can expand when the wet season arrives. Clay soils, which is common in the San Francisco Bay Area are particularly susceptible to this kind of expansion and contraction. The Bay Area also experiences varying weather from sunshine to fog in a matter of hours; this can have a serious impact on the foundations of a building.
Poor drainage is one of the leading causes of foundation problems. Excess water in the soil around a foundation softens the ground, and this can lead to foundation settlement. Gutters can be helpful, but they must be installed correctly and with extensions when necessary to take the water away from the foundation of the house.
Over time, soil on a slope can eventually make its way downhill due to differential settlement caused by soil creep which can be a fairly common feature of homes built on hillsides.
Even small earthquakes have the ability to cause differential settlement. On the 25ft of October, 2022, there was an earthquake of 5.1 magnitude, followed by an aftershock of 3.1 in San Jose. Regularly inspecting your home for faults is advised in earthquake zones.