Time: 10-12 hours
You spent hours on your walls decorating, painting, and...Oh no, is that a crack? A poor soil slope can weaken your home’s foundation, causing it to sink into the ground and crack your walls. Scary, yes, but — here’s the good news — you can stop a sinking home and keep your walls crack-free by shifting your soil slope.
What's in it for you?
Fewer cracks in your walls
No more soil drainage issues
A stronger foundation
Shift Your Soil Slope to Keep Your Walls Crack-Free
Dig a hole. Grab a shovel, head over to your house’s foundation and dig a hole that is one foot deep and one foot in diameter. Fill it up with water and let it soak overnight to hydrate your soil and improve the accuracy of this test.
Estimate your water drainage to see if there’s an issue. Refill the hole with water the next day and position a yardstick against its wall (the stick should be vertical). Mark the water level on the stick and recheck hourly — you shouldn’t be losing more than two inches per hour. If you are, the soil slope is likely too shallow. That means the excess water will collect and cause foundation damage — not good.
Set up a slope string to precisely measure your soil slope. Tie an 11-foot long string to a one-foot wooden stake (don’t worry about the exact position for now). Put the stake in the ground — you want it as close to your home’s outside wall as possible. Tie the other end of the string to another one-foot wooden stake and put it in the ground 10 feet away from the first (make sure the string is relatively taut). You should have a 90-degree angle between the string and your home’s wall.
Level the string. Slide the string down the first stake until it is touching the ground and the second stake until it is level with the first. Do the string, the stakes and the ground form a triangular shape? Good.
Gauge your soil slope. Measure the distance between the ground and the position of the string on the second stake. Six inches is the magic number for your soil slope. If it’s less than that, steepen the slope by removing soil from the area, or if it’s more than that, decrease the slope.
Pro Tip: If you’re worried about cracked walls and not sure where to start, measure the soil slope wherever you see pooled water.