August is here and it’s hot! The forecast for the next week, and probably the rest of the month, is 100 + degree days and no rain. It makes me miss the rain we had in May that erased the drought conditions we’d experienced the past three years. August, however, usually means little to no rain and with the clay content of our soil, it’s time to review foundation care.
Most of North Texas sits on an active clay zone that runs up into Oklahoma. Clay soil expands when moist and contracts when it dries. Foundations can bend and crack as dirt surrounding the slab pulled away in the long hot summer and that has implications for home insurance.
Slab damage resulting by earth movement and erosion (think drying and pulling away from the slab) is not covered by any homeowner policy I’ve seen. Slab access and egress coverage is optional coverage designed to address a leak that develops under the slab, but only in the case of a water leak.
This means it’s vitally important for homeowners to water their home’s foundations. Before watering, check your city’s current rules for water use to confirm how often you can water and when. In the past few years, some of the communities surrounding Dallas had prohibitions on watering the lawn, but allowed regular watering of the foundation. Homes with pier and beam foundations also need to be watered on a regular basis to keep the foundation from sagging in different areas.
In order to be effective, soaker hoses need to be placed 18 to 24 inches away from the foundation.
- The goal is to keep a constant level of moisture (not too wet nor too dry).
- If the ground becomes muddy, there’s too much water.
- If the ground becomes dry and cracks, it needs more water.
- Water each area for 30 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week.
Following these simple measures will help keep your foundation in great shape and avoid expensive foundation repairs. Have a question or suggestion? Post my Google+, LinkedIn, or Facebook pages. I’d love to hear from you!