This humble blog about foundation repair from the home owners point of view is written from a region is the U.S. where we have wide areas and tens of thousands of homes with slab foundations built on heavy clay soils.
The trouble with clay dirt is that it expands when it gets wet and shrinks when it gets dry. And that means the soils our houses sit on are swelling and shrinking depending on the weather. Cycles of rain and then dry periods.
That’s why it’s important to keep and even layer of moisture around the foundation. An affordable way to do that is with soaker hoses. Proper drainage is also important.
The Perma Pier people have a good article on weather and foundations:
Foundation Problems Don’t Wash Away With Rain, Says Perma-Pier
EON: Enhanced Online News (press release)
“Foundation Problems Don’t Wash Away With Rain, Says Perma-Pier. Texas-based company discusses the impact of the wet-dry cycle on soil and home.”
That’s why it’s important to keep and even layer of moisture around the foundation. Proper drainage is also important. You want rain water draining away from the foundation and not ponding.
This video talks about proper drainage around a typical house foundation in very simple terms. Very. Simple. Terms.
So if you can keep even moisture in the soil around your slab foundation and make sure that excess water drains away. Who knows? Maybe you can avoid the cost of foundation repair.
That’s what foundation consultant Richard Rash told me in November. I had run across Mr. Rash’s website while researching foundation repair companies in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
After being in the foundation repair business for 30 years in the Dallas area Richard retired and formed a new business, that of a consultant who goes to bat for the homeowner. In the course of all those years of putting piers under house foundations then having to go back now and then to a job where the slab kept moving despite the underpinning, he figures he knows a lot about what actually goes on with the typical residential foundation in North Texas.
The cost of foundation repair DFW and most other places is based on the price of each pier times the number of piers needed. The average cost of a pier in the Dallas area (more…)
It’s been a long hot dry summer over much of the U.S. and particularly so in Texas and it’s been hard on the home foundation built in those areas with expansive clay soils. We’ve seen a stretch of 100 plus degree days that flirted with the record books and hardly any rain.
That’s good for the foundation repair companies. But not so good for home owners who have not only had to endure sweltering heat but are now seeing signs of foundation movement.
Things you can do to avoid the cost of foundation repair
In fact here are 7 common mistakes homeowners make in regard to their concrete slab foundations that sit on heavy clay soils. I’m as guilty as the next guy as far as some of these missteps go, so don’t think I’m getting all high and mighty on you.
If you need a foundation fix, it might be because of climate change (formally known as “global warming”) At least that is the gist of an article written last year that I ran across in the New York times.
We know that homes built on expansive clay soils that swell during rainy periods, then shrink during dry spells cause a lot of problems for concrete slab foundations.
What I didn’t know was that these periods of dry weather followed by heavy rains have become more frequent and possibly triggered by climate change according to this NY Times article. Really? Here is a quote:
“Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association indicates that since the 1990s there has been an accelerating trend nationwide toward more extended dry periods followed by downpours. Whether due to random climate patterns or global warming, the swings between hot and dry weather and severe rain or snow have profoundly affected soil underneath buildings.” (more…)
It’s the soil.
If your slab-on-ground concrete foundation sits on heavy clay soils that dry out , then swell up when heavy rains come, the foundation is in danger of movement.
It’s exactly this kind of expanding then shrinking that causes most of the common signs of foundation stress and damage.
A lot of foundation repair companies will tell you that the sticking doors, windows that are hard to open and close, diagonal cracks in the drywall and brick, and sloping floors are signs that you might need foundation leveling.
And the main culprit is the clay soil that swells and shrinks.
We had a classic case of the soils reacting to the weather this past summer in North Texas. Weeks of little or no rain, depending on whether you were lucky enough to be under a stray pop-up thunderstorm or not. (Shrink)
Then along came Tropical Storm Hermine. (more…)