By Maduka Nweke
Flooding has become a recurring happening in Nigeria. It has had a devastating effect on buildings both public and private. Flood can wreck your house foundation and create unforeseen expenses for you. But one who is vigilant can notice the little by little effects of flooding and start on time to check it. After flooding, it is advisable not to use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
Flooding could be as a result of heavy rain. The simplest explanation for flooding is heavy rains. No matter where you live, you are surrounded by infrastructure and systems designed to move rainwater into appropriate basins and reservoirs. Aside rain water, river overflowing its banks could cause flooding. You do not necessarily need to have heavy rains to experience flooding in your area.
Broken dams could as well cause sudden flood. When heavy rains come, and water levels rise, aging dams can fail and unleash torrents of water on unsuspecting households. Urban drainage basins could also result in flooding. Many of our cities are made of mostly concrete and other impermeable material. When you have an urban drainage basin that is made of concrete, there is no ground for water to sink into. In that case, the house foundation will be burrowed by the force of moving water.
Flooding damages your foundation in two main ways; either from the force of fast moving water and from the water seeping in and causing or widening foundation cracks. Both kinds of damage weaken the structural integrity of your home and expose its interior to the elements in dangerous ways. The force of flood waters and debris pressing against your house can be enough to weaken the overall structure or even separate the walls from your foundation. Foundation pilings deep in the ground aren’t safe from rapid flood waters either. As the water rushes in, it can create instability that allows pilings to shift or even break. Any movement of your home’s foundation puts the entire house at risk of collapse. If you see any of these signs, there’s a good chance your home has foundational damage and you will need a professional consultation to determine the extent of the damage and to review restoration options. Foundation damage after flooding is a serious concern for homeowners and one that should be addressed promptly to reduce risk of further damage to your home and danger to your family. Flooding can also create or exacerbate foundation cracks. Small cracks naturally form over time due to changes in moisture and temperature, but an extreme force like flood waters can cause cracks that can’t be ignored. Foundation cracks will let cold air and moisture into your home, damaging wall and floor materials, ruining electrical elements, and introducing mold spores into your living space. More seriously, large cracks can cause instability to your home’s structure, possibly resulting in collapse.
It may not always be obvious that a home’s foundation has been affected by flooding. It’s always a good idea to call a professional to determine the safety of your home after a natural disaster, but there are signs you can look for yourself too. After a flood, look for cracks in door and window frames or note if doors and windows do not open and shut properly anymore. These can be signs that your house is misaligned on its foundation. Inspect your walls, ceilings, crown molding, and floors for new cracks. Also, walk your floors to test if any are sloping oddly. Take a good look at the outside of your house to see if it has moved off its foundation or if the foundation itself appears misplaced–either higher, lower, or tilted–compared to how it previously sat in relation to your lawn. Finally, look for foundation cracks or other gaps and spaces on the exterior of your home where parts seem to have broken away from each other.
To build something solid, something that lasts as a home, a relationship, a career, you need a solid foundation. And you need to keep it strong and steady, as even the soundest structures and brightest prospects can be ruined if the foundation fails.While this applies to all aspects of life, it is literally true in reference to a building. If the foundation is compromised, the entire house may crumble and fall or, at least, sustain a lot of damage. The necessary repairs will cause a lot of hassle and inconveniences and will cost dearly, so you need to do everything possible to prevent foundation problems in the first place.
While a house foundation can be damaged by various factors – earthquakes, extreme temperatures, tree roots, etc. – moisture is the number one culprit that weakens and compromises the home’s base. When water collects around your house from rain, snow, or burst pipes, the saturated soil around the foundation expands and shifts. The pressure on the foundation walls increases and results in cracks and leaks that allow water to penetrate the foundation and cause electrical hazards, mold growth, and structural damage to the house. To prevent such problems, you need to find a way to protect your home’s foundation from water.