What is a foundation “shield”?

I heard an ad on the radio the other day for something called “foundation shield” and wondered what that could possibly be. Not being very smart, yet imaginative, I pictured armor or maybe some sort of force field around a home foundation.

It turns out to be an industrial strength soaker hose system to keep a good layer of moisture around the perimeter of your concrete slab and hopefully avoid expensive foundation repair.

The reason most of us who live in areas with heavy clay soils have foundation problems is the shrink-swell nature of the dirt our houses are built on. When we have a lot of rain, our clay soils swell absorbing the water like a sponge. Then when dry weather hits, the soils give up that water and shrink. All this swelling and shrinking of the ground our houses are built on is hard on concrete slab foundations.

So one of the tools we homeowners can use to create an even layer of moisture around the slab is the use of soaker hoses. Soaker hoses dribble water out slowly along it’s length and over a few days can help stabilize the amount of moisture around the foundation. And “Foundation Shield” takes soaker hoses to the next level.

Instead of the traditional above ground rubber soaker hose made of recycled tires that most of us use, the “foundation shield” is a system that goes just below the ground and is made of entirely different materials.

Photo of RainBird drip line
A local company who installs this system uses lengths of Rainbird XFS subsurface drip line all around the foundation just below the surface of the soil. It’s a much more sophisticated system than your generic soaker hoses. Since it is installed just below ground level, there has be ways to keep grit and roots from clogging things up. That’s where emitters, pressure regulators, filters, water valves, air vacuum relief valves and such come into play.

If you watch the video below you’ll see that the systems is really designed for efficient drip irrigation of landscaping or gardens. But it’s a no-brainer to see how the system could be easily adapted to provide that even layer of moisture around the perimeter of a foundation that helps protect it from the shrink-swell effects of weather.

If this drip system is something you’d like more information on just visit the Rain Bird website. DIYers can buy the parts. They can also hook you up with a contractor in your area.

 

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