How Do Droughts Affect My Foundation?
Droughts have an obvious effect on the surface of your yard. Your lawn can turn brown, and your outdoor gardens can look starved for moisture. But what might be happening underground? Find out how droughts can affect your home’s foundation.
Drought Causing Foundation Problems
How does dry climate impact the physical structure of the home? During a drought, the soil becomes compact. This is especially true with clay-based soils.
As the soil compacts, it decreases in mass, causing the foundation to settle into the newly empty space. While foundation settling is natural, a drought causes this to occur at an accelerated rate. Even worse, the settling may not be evenly dispersed, leading to structural issues. If soil compaction is severe, this can result in a noticeable slope on one side of the structure.
Ramifications of Drought-Induced Damage
Uneven settling causes the foundation to shift. Slopes in the foundation can also cause visible cracks in the walls and siding. If you intend on selling your home, foundation repair may be required if an inspection verifies damage.
Signs of Foundation damage
It was as recently as 2011 that Texas experienced its worst-ever drought. If another drought hits the Dallas-Fort Worth area, homeowners should be on the lookout for these signs of damage:
- Visible cracks in the wall, siding, crown molding, or plaster
- Doors and windows may no longer shut properly
- Cracks or noticeable separation in any existing brickwork. Cracks may appear right on the bricks or along the mortar joints.
- A noticeable slope in the first level of the home
- Water in the crawl space or around the home perimeter
Since home sinking and settling occurs gradually, you should take notes, photograph the foundation, and document specific signs.
Cracks in the drywall upstairs and gaps in the trim are also signs of problems. If you discover your home is sinking or settling unevenly, you may find windows and doors difficult to open, because the frames are no longer square.
If you think your home is settling unevenly, use the marble test. Place a marble in the middle of a floor and watch how quickly it rolls away. If it moves rapidly toward a wall, call Align for a professional evaluation.
Prevent Soil Shrinkage
You can prevent drought-induced soil shrinkage by watering the ground around your foundation. First, dig down into the soil about six inches, at a distance of 6-12 inches from your foundation. If you feel the soil is completely dry, allow water from a soaker hose to moisten the soil. While you don’t want to flood the earth, a gentle soaking will prevent the supporting earth from shrinking away from your home’s foundation.
Drought Damage in Dallas? Call on Align Foundation Repair
Since 2000, up to 70% of U.S. lands have experienced abnormally dry conditions, according to the EPA. Furthermore, according to the Texas Water Resources Institute, the state experienced its driest period ever recorded in September 2011.
The consequences of a drought extend way beyond brown grass and poor crop yield. Extremely dry weather also leads to home foundation issues.
When rain becomes scarce and your area shows signs of drought stress, watch for problems with your home’s foundation. By staying vigilant, you can avoid major foundation cracks due to drought. If you’re not sure how bad the damage is, contact the Dallas foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair for a free inspection and estimate. We are a family-owned and operated drainage solution and foundation repair company serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We always put the customer first and stand behind our work with a Lifetime Warranty!