Foundation and General Exterior

Foundation and General Exterior

General Tips

General Tips

Keep water moving away from the building

  • ♦  Check gutters and downspouts – see Siding and Brick sections for more information on water removal specifics.
  • ♦  All surfaces within six feet of the foundation should be sloped away from house at least a ¼” per foot.

When contracting a company to help with foundation problems or settlement issues, be sure to ask the following questions.

  • ♦  How will you raise/adjust the supports in the house?
  • ♦  How will you repair the visible outside damage?
    • ◊  Consider what is a cosmetic repair and what is an actual fix of the problem.
    • ◊  Note—an actual fix will cost you more, but will save you money in the long run when the structure of the building is not compromised.

Always seek professional engineering help with foundation issues.


Keep trees and bushes 1½ to 2 feet away from foundation.

  • ♦  Reduces splash back.
  • ♦  Allows for air space to avoid biological growth.
  • ♦  Keep roots from undermining foundation.

Do not allow ivy to grow along or up foundation, house, or chimney.

  • ♦  Brings and holds moisture.
  • ♦  Attacks and invades materials.
    • ◊  Creates micro cracks, particularly in mortar.
  • ♦  Harbors pests and wildlife.


Preservation Brief 47Maintaining the Exterior of Small and Medium Size Historic Buildings by Sharon C. Park, FAIA