Preparing Your Western Colorado Home for Natural Weather Events

Is your home ready for rainstorms, dry spells, and freezing weather? Here’s your preparation checklist.

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Western Colorado has its fair share of natural weather events. While the average winter snow in Grand Junction is 19 inches, Crested Butte sees more than 200 inches. Average annual rainfall shows a more moderate difference with 10 inches in Grand Junction and 20 inches in Crested Butte. 

There’s also potential flooding in Grand Junction with the First National Flood Risk Assessment estimating that the city has 723 properties at risk in 2020 but expects that to grow to 1,247 by 2050. 

So how do you prepare your home for these weather events?

Spring and Summer Foundation Water Damage

Snowmelt in the late winter and early spring can bring a great deal of water off your roof onto the already saturated ground around your home’s foundation. Spring rainfall and summer storms can do much the same thing.

While the water can be routed away from your foundation with properly sized gutters, downspouts, and extensions, it also sets up an underground water flow that accumulates around the foundation. This builds up hydrostatic pressure on the walls of your basement or crawl space, finding any openings, causing cracks, and bringing water damage.

This happens due to the clay bowl effect. During construction, the soil was excavated, the foundation poured, and the soil backfilled around the foundation. The backfill soil is loose and much more porous than the surrounding undisturbed soil. In this way, it essentially sets up a bowl that helps water move toward the foundation.

If you have a slab foundation, similar issues can arise. When water moves under the slab, it causes the clay soil to expand. This pushes the slab up, causing cracks. This is called foundation heave, as opposed to other foundation types that settle over time due to soil compression.

Here are a few recommendations on steps to take to protect your home.

  • Check your foundation for any cracks or openings. Then take the necessary steps to repair them before the rains come.
  • Cover basement window wells to prevent water accumulation. Caulk the windows.
  • Install a basement interior drainage system including a sump pump to remove any water that enters.
  • Consider encapsulating your crawl space to prevent water entry and damage.
  • Reduce moisture by adding a dehumidifier. This also prevents mold and mildew formation.

Foundation Damage from Heat Waves and Dry Spells

Soil around the foundation expands during wet spells and contracts during dry spells. This drives slab heave and basement or crawl space settling, both of which create cracks in the foundation. So a dry summer can be just as damaging as a wet spring.

The best way to prevent excess drying around the foundation is with regular landscape watering. It’s also best practice to use a system that can adjust the amount of water based on the prevailing temperature and recent rainfall. This provides the right amount of water, saving on water bills and preserving our water supply.

Damage from Trees and Shrubs

Trees can generate significant root structures, seeking out all available moisture during dry spells. This further dries out the soil around the foundation. The roots can also physically damage the foundation as they grow and expand.

Shrubs can cause similar issues. It’s best to plant them at a reasonable distance from the foundation. The irrigation system should also take into account the water needed to maintain healthy growth.

Gutters and Downspouts 

It’s critical that your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves and obstructions. They must also be sized correctly to handle any sudden downpours without the water running directly off the roof onto your foundation.

Downspout extensions will further ensure that water from the roof moves well away from the foundation. At that point, the landscaping grade needs to take over. It should slope away from the foundation, helping to continue the movement of water.

Freezing Weather and Snow

Snow buildup on your roof and lawn can lead to water from snowmelt, flooding the basement or crawl space. Clearing gutters and downspouts along with proper landscape drainage can help move excess water. In addition, sufficient attic insulation can prevent early melting from escaping heat. 

Basement or crawl space insulation can prevent escaping heat and snowmelt around the foundation. It can also prevent freezing pipes as well as lower your utility bills. 

Preparing Your Home for Natural Weather Events

That’s a quick rundown of things to do in preparation for weather issues. While we didn’t mention fall, that’s a perfect time to check your home and prepare it for snow, rain, and dry spells.

To schedule a free foundation inspection and repair estimate as well as identify ways to prepare for weather events, contact your location foundation repair experts at Foundation Repair of Western Colorado.

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