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.
Earlier this year one of my neighbors (Roy) had foundation repair done on his concrete slab. The hot dry summer drought had done its damage and resulted in some of the classic signs of foundation movement.
You could see separation of the brick veneer away from the window frames in the front of the house and by the garage door. There was a big diagonal crack (half inch or so) in one of the sheet rock walls in a small office inside the garage area. Similar cracks had developed inside the house proper.
With the cost of foundation repair in mind, Roy called three foundation repair companies for bids.
The foundation companies all suggested piers for the front and both sides of the house.The company Roy picked uses pushed concrete piers, a very common foundation repair method in Texas.
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
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.
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…)