Foundation Stabilization and Repair/protecting foundation
I have a cape style home, and at one time it had gutters along the front roof line. They were removed, and therefore water cascading off the roof went into the ground and eventually seeped into my block foundation. In winter no doubt the foundation is stressed to some degree by the freezing of the water and it pressing against the foundation. Upon my home inspection the inspector suggested I look into some type of remediation for this. I've thought about replacing gutters, but have wondered if there's something I can do otherwise, like building up the soil so it slopes away from the house. Now, it kinds of puddles a foot or so in front of the foundation. Short of building up the soil to create a slope, is there some kind of impermeable barrier (or semi-permeable) barrier I can put under the soil I bring in, to lessen the chance the runoff will seep into the ground and foundation? Or should I just go ahead with the gutters, which I find unattractive? I currently have removed the shrubs that were along the front, so can basically do what I want in front for now. Thanks for your reply!
Sorry for the slow reply, have been traveling heavily this last week.
By your description it sounds as if the roof overhang is short and allows for runoff
to land close to the foundation. Although gutters are somewhat unattractive they do serve
a valuable purpose. Even with gutters it is important to maintain a positive slope away from
the foundation to prevent ponding.
It is good that you removed the shrubs away from the wall to allow for modification.
There are impermeable layers you can place down but that can contribute to the opposite problem
in a dry summer where the foundation can see a lack of moisture and cause soil to shrink excessively and experience settlement. In a perfect world the goal is to keep a consistent moisture content in the soil around the foundation walls.. tough to do in extremes.
If you place soil to allow for a positive slope, be sure not to raise it too high where it may affect siding, vents or water infiltration into a crawl space, basement or slab. If there is plenty of room to add soil this is certainly a good effort. Another measure would be to add a gravel drain with a perforated pipe to discharge the effluent away from the structure, downslope. This is commonly referred to as a French Drain, allbeit in your case, a shallow one.
Regardless of your efforts be sure not to replant any large shrubbery or trees close to the foundation that may take an excessive amount of moisture away from the soil. Move plantings out away from the wall (makes it easier to paint or clean as well)and avoid deep rooting plants.
Also, inspect the foundation wall for cracks or deterioration before re-planting. If there is a concern of moisture damage you may want to apply a coat or two of sealer, allowing ample time for the wall to dry out if it appears saturated prior to coating.
Have a great holiday and good luck with your efforts.