In my part of the world the spring rains are coming to an end and the soil is getting drier. Since my concrete slab foundation sits on shrink-swell clay soils, I have to make a concerted effort to keep the dirt around the foundation moist. It’s really not that big of a deal because of the easy availability of soaker hoses. You can find them at major hardware stores, home improvement centers and in the lawn and garden departments of the “big box” discount stores.
In an earlier post, I included a diagram of a typical soaker hose setup. With not that much cash you can ring your foundation with soaker hoses and regular garden hoses to get an even distribution of water to keep the soil moist. Most experts say to put the hoses 12-18 inches out from the edge of your slab. Mulch and other landscaping techniques can hide them. They need not be an eyesore. You can see the tools and techniques you’ll need here.
No one has ever accused me of being the handiest guy on the planet, so if can I put together a soaker hose system you can too. And you will be doing your concrete slab-on-ground foundation a huge favor.
We had a bit of a dry spell last week and I decided to run my soaker hoses to make sure the soil around my concrete slab foundation was staying moist.
I hadn’t needed to run the soaker hoses in quite a while. Even though I have gutters that take most of the rainfall away from the foundation the soil was not drying out significantly because we have had a lot of rain in my area this spring and so far this summer. Record amounts of rain.
I’m using a “T” splitter on the west side of my foundation to make sure I have enough water pressure in the entire length of the soaker hose. I’m using a configuration similar to the diagram on this page. (more…)
As I recall, soaker hoses are those porous rubber conduits one drapes around the perimeter of the foundation to supply an even measure of moisture to the slab. It’s smart to do this if your house sits on shrink-swell clay soils.
I haven’t had to use mine for six months. After two years of drought and local water use restrictions it has rained. a. lot. The area lakes are full and then some, my yard is squishy and the grass fat with water.
If I were to run the soaker hoses the water would immediately run off and head for the street moving quicker than a fat kid on cake. We are ten inches above normal in the rainfall column for this year. So far. But that could change.
All the rain could come to a screeching halt next week. In fact, we usually have hot dry summers. So my soaker hoses lie in wait, resting under a thick layer of mulch, until it’s time once again to deliver moisture to the foundation.
This little blog is written from the Dallas, Texas part of the globe which happens to be in one of the busiest areas for foundation repair companies. Why?
Most of the residential neighborhoods are built on what used to be black prairie farmland. Where once they grew cotton they now grow housing developments planted in the same heavy clay soils.
These soils swell when wet and shrink when it’s dry. The result is rising, falling and twisting of the average slab-on-ground concrete foundation. The use of soaker hoses to keep the soil around the foundation moist is a must. (more…)
A question that comes to mind is “Should I worry about my soaker hoses that are around my house foundation being damaged by freezing temperatures during the winter?”
Short answer: “Not really.”
Most soaker hoses are made from recycled tires which is pretty tough stuff. Add to that the fact that soaker hoses are porous by design and should not have much water in them a few hours after they’ve been run. You can also blast the water out with an air compressor or good old lung power.
It’s an excellent idea to cover soaker hoses with a thick layer of mulch. Doing so cuts back on loss of water through evaporation during the hot months and offers protection from freezing weather during the winter. A six inch layer would be a good start.
Of course you can damage soaker hoses by running them while the outside temperatures are well below freezing and yanking on them while they are frozen stiff. But who besides your crazy neighbor would be doing that? Not you. You’re inside enjoying a warm beverage and not worrying about your soaker hoses.