Your attached garage is the portion of your home foundation that is often the most costly to repair.
We tend to concentrate on the foundation that surrounds our basement area and rightly so. Springtime with its melting snow and rainy days raise the risks of basement leaks through garage foundation cracks, clogged window well drains or over burdened weeping tile. These problems must be addressed to avoid mould and water damage. Now is the time to walk around the perimeter of your foundation, noting potential problem areas.
Here is what to look for in your garage foundation area:
- Garage foundation cracks visible between the ground and the siding, brick or stone. (often close to the front of the garage)
- Cracks in mortar joints (brick or stone)
- Caulking gaps between the garage door frame and the siding, brick or stone.
- Eavestrough downspouts evacuating water next to the foundation (area often depressed due to water compaction)
- Gaps between garage floor and door frame.
- Diagonal cracks in the garage floor
Long term effects:
Cracks and caulking gaps continue to enlarge due to frost action causing structural damage and costly repairs. Unlike the basement area foundation, garages are unheated, no weeping tile around the perimeter and more susceptible to frost heave. Clay soil is particularly problematic as it expands and contracts depending on moisture content. The Ottawa area has a lot of Leda clay.
The picture above shows the extent of the project when years of freeze/thaw action has occurred. It is vital and far less costly to repair if caught early. Sometimes, it is as simple as relocating downspouts to direct the water away from the foundation. Also the ground beneath the asphalt adjacent to the garage may have settled leaving the water to pool next to the foundation. The remedy is an asphalt patch (ramp) to re-establish a positive slope away from the foundation. Minor garage foundation cracks can then repaired by injection at less cost.