Cracked Concrete Align Foundation Repair; Image via Flickr by Napolean_70

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. Contact us, your Dallas foundation repair experts at Align Foundation Repair If you’re not sure how bad the damage is, 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!

 

Landscaping and Foundation Repair

7 Landscaping Tips That Will Protect Your Foundation

Come spring, homeowners’ attention naturally turns to landscaping. While plants and trees can improve the appearance, value, and appeal of your home, if done properly with some foresight, landscaping around your house foundation can actually protect your investment.

The pros at Align Foundation Repair recommend that before you head to the nursery or home improvement store, you should consider the following tips first. This will ensure that your design will not lead to unwanted foundation damage, which could lead to costly repair.

Checklist for Landscaping Around House Foundations

Here are seven tips for proper landscaping around foundations:

  1. Plant trees away from the foundation. The root systems of trees can be as large as the branch systems above the ground and can grow under your foundation, causing damage and bringing unwanted moisture seeking roots.
  2. Make sure you leave some of the foundation exposed. It may be unsightly, but it’s important to leave a few inches visible so you can inspect it regularly and make sure that it’s not buried in moisture.
  3. Watch out for drains or outlets. If there is a drain in your yard, it’s there for a good reason. Covering it with plants can restrict drainage which contributes to foundation damage.
  4. Improve your gutter system. Use gutter extensions to push water at least five feet away from your foundation. Underground downspouts can be installed to carry water further out. Gutters should be cleared of dirt and leaves; clogged gutters lead to excess water, overflow, and pooling water. Also, check for any holes, gap, or leaks while cleaning your gutters.
  5. Mulch your flower beds. Mulch retains moisture and will be beneficial to your plants and your foundation in the summer months by preventing the soil around your property from becoming too dry. Exceedingly dry soil can harm your foundation by causing movement.
  6. Make sure flower beds slope away from your foundation. It is critical to check the grade on your Dallas, Fort Worth property and landscaping to make sure water can’t pool around your house. We recommend having a 9-10” drop for the first ten feet around your home to keep moisture from accumulating under your foundation (a slope about 3-5% away from your foundation). Without a proper slope, your foundation can experience erosion.
  7. Water evenly in non-landscape areas. If only one section of the yard is landscaped, the soil on that side will expand because it’s likely to be watered more often. Soil expansion can lead to foundation cracks so it’s best to water your property uniformly. The expansive clay soil in the Dallas-Fort Worth area affects landscaping and you should protect your foundation from issues like increases in moisture or too little water. Use deep-rooted plants; shallow-rooted plants could erode over a short period of time.

Talk to the Dallas Foundation Repair Experts

Choose the North Texas foundation and drainage repair experts you can trust. Contact Us today if you would like more tips for landscaping around house foundations in Dallas, or you’re concerned that your foundation may be damaged. We can schedule a free inspection and give you even more advice on landscaping, maintenance, and foundation repair in Dallas-Fort Worth.