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.
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
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…)
The following is a recreation of a conversation between me and a neighbor when I first moved here. His name is Ed and he is wearing a ball cap and a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt.
Me: “What are those black hoses I see around your house?”
Ed: “Soaker hose. Water foundation.”
Me: “Excuse me, what?”
“Around here you have to water the foundation. I use the soaker hose for that. Part of foundation maintenance.” (Yes, he speaks in clipped sentences.)
“Well, why do you do that?”
“You’re not from around here, are you?”
“No, we just moved to this part of Texas. Moved here from St. Louis. Lived in New Mexico and El Paso before that. So, yeah, we’re new here.
“Well around here you have to water your slab, water foundation. Don’t let the dirt pull away from it. We have nasty clay soil around here and it’s hard on the house foundation. Be sure and get you some soaker hoses.”
“I’ll check into that, thanks. Soaker hose. Water foundation. Huh. See ya later, Ed.”
Ed’s wife later threw him out of the house. (more…)
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…)