Mulch damaging foundation

Has anyone had issues with mulch eroding their foundation? I have poured walls and the put dark hardwood mulch against it (for the last three years). I noticed that the foundation was getting lighter (like it was bleached) and when I went to investigate the areas that had mulch against it, would flake and fall off. Fortunately I have caught in time, but I need to know what mulch is safe, if any, to use by my house's foundation.
Any advice?
-jes
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Poor quality concrete perhaps? That's not happening to our 12 year old foundation. We've had Pine bark nuggets against it all that time.

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The house is 20 years old, and this has happened very recently. Are you using the large pine bark chips?
-jes
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Yes but they get smaller and finer as they rot down.

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I don't think your flaking problem is a matter of which mulch to use. The major difference is that some types last longer than others. The mulch right against the house causes a lack of sufficient air circulation. This could especially be a problem if the area is on the north or east side, where it may not be getting enough sun to dry out. As a general rule, it's best to keep mulch 2-3 inches away from anything so as not to encourage dampness problems. This is especially true of woody plants, by the way.
Also, make sure the area is pitched away from the house at 1 inch high for every foot going away from the house so rain/water drain away from the house.
jsmcast wrote:

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jsmcast wrote:

area of foundation and then a hard freeze can result in flaking. Foundation companies in your area probably could get you a sure answer.
Lar
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Or maybe it is a simple "mulch mold" flaking off and not the foundation itself?
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Toni
South Florida USA
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We also recommend not using all bark mulch. It does not have the carbon in a form we need for feeding the soil. Two articles which refer to mulching can be found here: http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/CHEM.html
http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/shigo/RHIZO.html
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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You really do not want to place the mulch against the house any more than you want to place the muclh against the trunk of trees. If you use mulch near your house you want to make sure that it has composted. Composted mulch will reduce your chances of getting artillery fungus on your house. Agian even if the mulch is well composted you don't want to place it against the trunk of your trees or do you want to pile it against your structure. Have you ever seen where mulch was piled against a tree trunk and then removed? Its bleached as well. Most of the time I recommend a mulch that I deal with. It is composted tree trimming from the chipper, which has composted for a year or more. I have a section on mulch in two areas. Mulching - http://home.ccil.org/~treeman/sub3.html and
http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/index.html Look up "Mulch"
Sincerely, John A. Keslick, Jr. Arborist http://home.ccil.org/~treeman and www.treedictionary.com Beware of so-called tree experts who do not understand tree biology. Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us that we are not the boss.

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