Did you know that severe weather conditions affect more than just the temperature inside your home? Extreme weather conditions such as the drought that affects much of Texas can produce damage to your home’s foundation, and that damage can have far-reaching effects to other parts of your home. Expansive clay soil found across large areas of Texas behaves like a sponge, expanding available moisture and contracting when that moisture disappears. How does this expansion and contraction affect the foundation of your home? As soil expands and contracts it shifts, moving the foundation. As the soil around the edges of your foundation dries out, it shrinks, while the soil underneath the center of your home’s foundation may stay relatively moist. This disparity of moisture levels can result in uneven soil, raised in the center and lower on the edges. This can cause your foundation to crack and shift, compromising the structure of your home.
Shifting soil can also lead to other problems such as uneven pressure on your home’s plumbing system. Pipes can crack causing leaks, and if the problem is not corrected you could be facing breakage and replacement of some or all of your plumbing, not to mention increased water bills if the leaks or breaks go undetected. Leaking water from a compromised plumbing system can cause excess moisture in the soil, exacerbating the problem of uneven soil levels beneath your foundation.
How to Recognize Drought Damage to Your Foundation
Here are some signs to watch out for if you suspect there may be drought damage to your foundation:
- Gas or water meters look crooked.
- Cracks in the mortar of any brickwork. Small hairline cracks in individual bricks are not cause for concern, but any large cracks which follow the mortar between bricks could indicate a foundation under stress.
- Cracked sheet rock and/ or plaster.
- Visible cracks in your foundation.
- Bowed (curved) foundation walls.
- Separation between foundation and wall(s).
- Chimney separation from the house.
- Gaps where two external walls are supposed to meet.
- Uneven floors (tilted or sloping).
- Cracks in garage floor and/ or other concrete floors in the home.
- Sticking windows and doors.
How to Help Prevent Foundation Damage to Your Home
There are steps you can take to help prevent Texas drought conditions from causing damage to the foundation of your home. These steps include:
- Watering the area around your foundation. To keep the soil at the edges of your foundation as moist as the soil beneath it, set up an irrigation zone or soaker hose. This will keep the soil from drying out and cracking. Place a soaker hose with a pressure restrictor next to the foundation. Since you don’t want to over-water the soil, be sure there is a timer on the soaker hose for 30 minutes 3 times a week during dry periods.
- Checking for proper drainage. Since you don’t want to allow water to pool next to the foundation, ensure the ground around your foundation is sloped so that water flows away from your house. This includes rainwater, not just the water from your irrigation system. If necessary, install downspout extensions so that water is discharged a good distance away from the foundation.
- Inspect for tree root damage. Although shade trees can help beat the Texas heat, tree roots growing next to or underneath your foundation can cause damage by drawing moisture from the soil, causing it to dry out rapidly. The larger your trees, the more moisture they need to stay healthy. If this is happening, it could mean removing the roots and installing tree root barriers or removing the trees altogether.
Even after taking preventive measures, it is still possible that drought damage to your home’s foundation can occur. If it does, you will need an experienced professional to correct the problem. Left unattended, drought damage can result in costly repairs to both the interior and exterior of your home and could require underground repair to your plumbing system if it has been damaged as well. If you suspect your foundation has suffered drought damage, give us a call today. At Advanced Foundation Repair, we provide precise inspections for homeowners to pinpoint foundation issues before they become major problems. With easy payment and financing options and transferable lifetime warranties, we offer an affordable way to fix your foundation problems for life. Our Advanced Pro-Lift Technology will professionally correct your foundation problems and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re getting the best possible foundation repair. For quality foundation repair and superior customer service, call on Advanced Foundation Repair in Dallas when you suspect drought damage.