Soaker Hoses

Using soaker hoses around concrete slab foundations for stability in expansive clay soils.

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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My Foundation Slab Leak-Part One

Image of leaking water pipe causing slab leak“I don’t think you need piers. Maybe a few. But I do think you have a slab leak.”

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…)

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Foundation Repair and the Drought-5 Tips for Homeowners

dried up clay soilsDroughts are hard on the home foundation, no question about it.

I was looking at a map from the US National Weather Service that showed almost a third of the country in drought conditions that range from “excessively dry” to “exceptional drought.” Not good.

And to make matters worse, many areas included in the drought also have homes built on shrink/swell heavy clay soils. That means when the soils dry out, house foundations start moving, usually dropping.

Things the homeowner will start to notice are cracks in the sheet rock inside and in brick veneers outside. Doors and windows that don’t work the way they used to and are supposed to, and in the worst cases, floors starting to slope.

It’s happening again at my house too.

Extended dry conditions like this provide plenty of work for foundation repair companies, but what about the homeowner?

Here are 5 Foundation Repair Issues To Be Aware Of


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Foundation Repair Maintanence with Soaker Hoses-7 Ways Homeowners Do it Wrong

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.


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Foundation Repair In The News

You know a drought is taking its toll on the slab foundation in your area when the local television news is running stories on how busy foundation repair companies are.

While some parts of the U.S. are finally drying out after record flooding this spring, other parts of the country including Texas are experiencing record dry conditions.

As I write this, my soaker hoses are running. You know the drill, when in drought, water foundation.

A TV outlet in Austin, Texas has a news article where they are talking to both homeowners and foundation contractors and things are not good. Well, not for the homeowners.

One of the homeowners has a problem with his doors sticking, not latching properly, and now cracks are appearing in the walls. Those are classic signs of foundation issues. (more…)

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