If your home is located in the south, there’s a good chance it’s built on a slab.
Homes with a slab foundation are particularly popular in San Antonio, TX and Jacksonville, FL. A slab foundation is basically a home that is built on top of a concrete slab, typically level to the ground. Whereas, a foundation with a basement or crawlspace has a separation from the ground, footings, and uses cinderblocks, concrete pillars or bricks for the foundation walls. A basement or crawlspace is the area between the ground and the home’s first floor.
Many homeowners with a concrete slab foundation think that this means they do not need gutters since there is no basement to keep dry. But, this simply is not accurate. While protecting your basement from flooding is one of the reasons why gutters are important, it is not the only one. In fact, basement flooding is a result of another problem caused by having no gutters or poorly installed gutters; a cracked foundation (which concrete slabs are still susceptible to).
Protecting Your Slab Foundation From Water Damage
A cracked slab foundation can result in compromised structural integrity of your home. There are many reasons why concrete cracks like;
- Water Wears Concrete – Continued water exposure and pooling of water on concrete leads to wearing of the concrete. Constant moisture buildup within the soil around the slab that supports your home can also lead to a soft ground, further contributing to decreases in structural soundness.
- Expansion & Contraction – Expansion and contraction is an effect of temperature fluctuations. When it is very hot, your concrete (like anything else) will expand. The lack of flex in concrete can result in cracks during expansion. The temperature and moisture level of the soil laying against your concrete slab foundation helps to determine the temperature of your concrete. By channeling water away from the slab, you can help the soil to maintain a more consistent temperature and moisture level, decreasing expansion and contraction.
- Heaving – Similar to expansion cracks, your slab can also see heaving damages. Heaving involves pushing up of the ground due to expansion. This is most commonly related to the freeze-thaw cycle in winter, which is not typically a problem for southern regions, but heaving can also be due to tree roots. Root heave is triggered by tree roots that do not have sufficient growing space underground, caused often by compacted soil that has been densified to provide stability for the overlying structure. After lifting during heaving, the ground will settle again.
- Cracks Due To Settling – The ground settles and moves over time. These movements can lead to uprooting and cracking of your slab.
Not only are gutters important to avoid potential cracks caused by water pooling at the foundation, but they are also key in protecting your home when and if cracks do form. If your concrete slab foundation experiences some cracking due to settling, tree roots, expansion, heaving, water pooling, etc. you do not want water landing at the foundation during rain even more so than usual, as this water can now enter through the cracks into your home. Water entering into your home’s concrete slab foundation can result in further wearing of the concrete and create a buildup of moisture within your homes architecture, further contributing to a compromised structure.
Preventing Landscape And Soil Erosion
Another reason why installing gutters on a home on a slab is so important is to prevent soil and landscape erosion. The gradual erosion of soil can lead to pollution of drinking water due to sedimentation, as well as a harmful increase of algae growth in water, and compromised structural integrity of buildings and roadways. Rain runoff from the roof of your home at your foundation can lead to harmful soil erosion near the base of your home. This runoff can also damage your lawn and other expensive and important landscaping near your home’s foundation.
A gutter system is designed to channel water away from the base of your home and to a designated area through the use of downspouts. If you are interested in harvesting rainwater, you can even add a rain water harvesting system to your gutter system!
Regardless of the type of foundation your home sits on, water control is important and goes a long way in protecting your home, and property. If your home is located in the south and you are debating on whether to inquire about installing gutters on a home with a slab foundation, please make the decision to do so and protect your home. The Brothers that just do Gutters has several locations in the South with one specifically in San Antonio, TX and in Jacksonville, FL. Contact our local San Antonio gutter installer and local Jacksonville gutter installer today for your free estimate, and start protecting your home’s concrete slab foundation (and the surrounding property) from damage associated with water runoff!