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. He may not have been an expert husband, but he was right about the soaker hose business.
Since living here in the DFW area I’ve learned all about the heavy clay soils that hundreds of thousands of houses around here have been built on and the toll on slab foundations the shrink-swell clay soil take on them.
However, among the tools the average homeowner has to protect his foundation is the lowly soaker hose. I’ve been running mine regularly this spring and summer as it has been mostly a dry year.
I’ve also written a handful of articles on this website about how to put together a basic system of soaker hoses, the purpose of which is to keep an even layer of moisture around the perimeter of the house foundation.
You can find those articles about protecting your foundation with the soaker hose here. A guy in the foundation repair business, Tim Dupree, also left a pretty long comment here that goes into great detail about using soaker hoses. Scroll down to the bottom of the comments. It’s definitely worth the read for a quick education on protecting your concrete slab foundation with a soaker hose.
So check them out and you’ll be in the loop the next time you hear “water foundation”.