Imagine your home is on a flat sheet of paper. Now imagine the paper folding only a few degrees and consider the damage to your walls, plumbing, and electrical lines. You now have an idea of the long-term foundation damage that expansive soil is capable of. Expansive soils act like sponges by expanding when wet and shrinking when dry. Civil engineers have developed a simple solution to prevent this swelling movement from causing damage to your home’s foundation: rain gutters. Here’s how they help to protect your home’s foundation.
They Prevent Infiltration
Water follows the easiest path downwards, and the small crack between your concrete foundation and the ground allows water to penetrate deeper. When the soil underneath your foundation base becomes saturated, it can exert as much as 5,500 pounds per square foot of pressure on the corners and edges of your foundation. Rain gutters prevent this from happening by simply shielding the edges of your home and diverting runoff into proper drainage channels.
They Prevent Compaction
Soil quality is rarely uniform; patches of expansive clay minerals often have strands of weaker silt deposits. When the ground gets wet, the clay expands while the silt washes away, leaving spaces in the ground and allowing the surrounding soil to shift. This process, known as hydrocompaction, can weaken the soil underneath your foundation and allow it to sag. Rain gutters have the twofold task of preventing this from happening.
They Prevent Mold and Pests
Stagnant pools of water around the home can become a breeding ground for wood-burrowing pests, mold, and fungi. By catching runoff water from the roof and diverting it away from the edges of your home, gutters protect the appearance of your home as well as its structural integrity.