How Would You Rate Your Yard's Grading? | Foundation Repair Company in OR and WA | Terrafirma

How Would You Rate Your Yard’s Grading?

Portland Home With Yard

homeowner tips

How Would You Rate Your Yard’s Grading?

Could your yard be damaging your home? It’s a bold question, but one worth considering because, surprisingly, it might be true. Before we can talk more about it, let’s understand the dynamics at play.

Understanding the Impact of Moisture on Your Home’s Foundation

Your house is supported by layers of soil, each with its unique characteristics, including moisture levels. These layers have developed over millennia, with natural processes like water, wind, and glaciers contributing, along with human intervention during land development. The top layer, known as fill soil, is typically man-made, created by redistributing soil during construction.

Over time, soil—whether natural or fill—can become unstable due to various factors. Droughts can lead to soil shrinkage and the formation of voids. Poorly compacted fill soil may compress over time. Excessive moisture can cause soil to soften or expand, especially near your home’s foundation—the “active zone” most susceptible to moisture fluctuations with changing seasons or climates. The extent of this zone varies depending on location, potentially spanning from a few feet to over 30 feet below ground and extending up to 10 feet away from the foundation.

When soil loses its ability to support a structure, foundations can sink or settle. Saturated soil can soften and destabilize, akin to stepping into a muddy field. In basement foundations, hydrostatic pressure from saturated soil can push against walls, akin to the weight exerted by water in a jug.

The Significance of Proper Grading

Given these risks, ensuring proper drainage away from your home’s foundation and the active zone is crucial. Ideally, the ground should slope downward one inch for every foot as you move away from the foundation within the first 10 feet. This promotes water runoff away from the home, preventing it from saturating the soil near the foundation.

Checking Your Yard’s Grade

If you are uncertain about your yard’s grading, a simple measurement can provide clarity. Using string, stakes, and a level, measure the drop in elevation around your home’s perimeter. If the slope is less than one inch per foot, or if there’s no drop at all, it’s wise to consult a landscaping professional for grading adjustments.

Ensuring Peace of Mind

Proper grading ensures that heavy rains divert away from your home, minimizing the risk of foundation issues. If you have concerns about existing damage, it’s advisable to consult a reputable foundation repair company for an inspection. At TerraFirma, we can address settlement or wall damage, offering lasting solutions and ensuring your home’s stability. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today!