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FOUNDATIONS, WALKS AND DRIVES

Concrete by its very nature develops cracks over time. Even reinforced concrete floors, aprons, patios, steps, walks, driveways and porch slabs may develop hairline cracks with age. This condition is normal and can be expected despite all precautions taken during installation.

Cracks in concrete can be repaired. Simply choose an appropriate caulk or portland cement bond material that will adhere to concrete and re-grout or seal obvious cracks.

Another frequent problem is pitting or flaking of concrete driveways and garage floors caused by melting snow mixed with salt from cars. When possible, avoid parking salty, wet cars on driveways and concrete surfaces. Never use salt base ice removers and seal concrete regularly. Snow removal should also be done with care to prevent damage to walks. On concrete, asphalt or brick walks and driveways, use "kitty litter" during winter conditions to avoid permanent damage to top surfaces.

Stone walls, walks, treated timbers and fencing may shift due to frost leaving the ground in the springtime and soil settlement. This is normal and some movement is to be expected with these products. Exterior fences and decks should be treated annually with a sealant to prevent splitting, warping and bowing. Gaps and normal shrinkage is unavoidable.

Frequently check landscapes and walls and fill for soil erosion and depressions. Check driveway and walks for cracks and soil erosion. Fill and mend as needed.

Pools, saunas and hot-tubs are specialty items typically not considered part of the home, and they are generally not covered by the home warranties. You are encouraged to obtain warranty information from the manufacturer. The manufacturers of swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs provide the safety and maintenance instructions. It is best to deal with the installer of special construction items for replacement parts, supplies and maintenance needs.

In regions which require them, drain tile systems and sump pumps generally provide the only reliable system to insure a dry basement. An adequate gutter system with properly drained downspouts, along with a well maintained surface drainage system are also normally necessary to avoid basement water problems. The surface water must have positive drainage from the entire foundation at all times.

Certain soil conditions or changes in subsurface water table levels may cause changes in the water content of soils around foundations over time.


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