Are you concerned about the effects of heat and drought on your foundation?
Dry Texas weather can easily affect the integrity of your foundation. Since temperatures during the summertime regularly exceed 90° Fahrenheit in Texas, the weather conditions remove moisture from the soil around your home.
Our soil is predominantly clay. When it dries, it shrinks. When moistened, it expands. When over-moistened, it turns to mud.
This process will sooner or later affect the foundation’s stability. When the hot temperature turns into a drought situation, you’ll have to find ways to counter the damage.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of how and why hot weather affects your foundation. You’ll also learn about the various ways you can cut the associated risks and prevent foundation damage.
During a drought, the soil surrounding your foundation will shrink. This process may not be readily recognizable under the naked eye. But if you look close enough, you can see evidence of settling.
Usually, this process first shows up in the form of cracks appearing on your basement walls. As time passes, you’ll start to see evidence of the settling in the other areas of your property.
As the first signs often go unnoticed by homeowners, the next symptoms of a settling foundation are harder to ignore. The windows and doors may become sticky and hard to open and close. The drywall in your upstairs living spaces may also start to show formidable gaps or cracks.
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Solution #1: French Drains
French drains are a great solution to keep excess water away from your foundation. A typical French drain is created by filling a sloped trench with a pipe and some gravel.
This construction helps to draw the water away from your foundation by providing a downhill flow direction. When the rainwater enters the trench, it starts flowing on the ground at a harmless distance from the foundation.
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Solution #2: Drip Hose
Drip hoses are an easy and highly effective solution to maintain your foundation during a draught. You should use the drip hoses to water the soil surrounding your foundation’s perimeter.
The key here is not to have the hoses directly against your foundation. Instead, you should place the drip hoses 10-16″ from your home’s foundation. Turn the hoses on 2-4 times a week depending on the severity of weather conditions. You want to water such that the soil is not dry nor muddy.
It’s true that this method will cost you in terms of water usage. However, keeping the soil nice and moist is essential during weeks of extreme heat. It will help you cut down on the expenses of foundation repairs in the long run.
At the same time, be cautious of overwatering your foundation. Too much moisture can lead to something called an edge lift. This means that the edge of your foundation’s exterior rises above its interior edge.
This is why it’s recommended not to overuse the drip hose. Some Texas homeowners use a timer to really make sure they comply with this rule.
Solution #3: Prevention
Prevention is better than cure. When it comes to drought effects on your foundation, full prevention may not always be a possibility. But you do have a few methods at your disposal that could mitigate the damage.
Before and during the intense heat of the summer, check around your home for any gaps between the soil and foundation. The soil’s local moisture levels are good if you can’t see any formation of these gaps. But when you spot some gaps, it’s clear that your foundation is at an elevated risk of settling.
Extra moisture is needed when you discover that the soil is dry or cracking at the surface. Make sure to moisturize the soil step-by-step without drenching the area surrounding your foundation.
Another prevention tactic is proper landscaping to protect your foundation, such as planting some shrubs around your foundation. These plants lock more moisture in the soil while providing some shade as well. This is something that could really help to reduce the damage associated with periods of drought.
Additionally, you can add some mulch along with the plants. This organic material is an extra measure to keep more moisture in the soil and counter the detrimental effects of erosion.
Heat and drought negatively affect home foundations in Texas. The combined effects of high temperatures and drying soil contribute to foundation damage that may result in expensive repairs.
The first problem that can be created by drought is foundation settling. This can occur either due to drying clay soil, or overwatering the clay soil (leading to mud).
You can prevent these issues by monitoring the soil moisture surrounding your home and planting shrubs and flowers around your foundation. Plants will lock in more moisture into the soil and shade the area from the scorching sun.
The installation of French drains could offer useful benefits in areas where rainwater or sprinkler water accumulates.
You can also contact a professional foundation repair company such as Granite Foundation Repair to have a drainage assessment. Give us a call today!