Drought And Your Home's Foundation

When it comes to the home's foundation, most homeowners are well aware to be cautious when it comes to the effects of tree roots or pooling water near the foundation. What you may not know is that a lack of water, in the form of a long-term or seasonal drought, can cause just as much damage to the foundation. Knowing how droughts affect foundations and taking steps to counteract the concerns can reduce the chances of damage.  

Drought Issues

During a drought of more than a couple of weeks, the soil begins to shrink as the moisture evaporates. The longer the drought, the deeper the soil drying and the more severe the shrinkage. If your area has naturally expansive soil, which means it tends to shrink quickly when dry and expand just as quickly when moistened, then the shrinkage severity may be intensified during a drought.

Shrinking soil will pull away from the foundation, which results in a gap. Over time, the foundation may begin to settle into the gap. The result is uneven settling that can lead to large foundation cracks. In severe cases, the foundation may become completely unstable if the problem is allowed to persist. 

Damage Symptoms

You will likely notice soil shrinkage before major damage occurs. Look for soil gaps between the ground and the foundation walls of your home. If you spot any gaps or cracking soil near the foundation, then soil shrinkage may be a concern.

Symptoms become more obvious once the foundation actually begins to shift. Door and window frames may stop being level, which means the doors and windows won't open or close easily. The floor may slope toward one side visibly. There may also be cracks in the visible parts of the foundation walls, or you may notice cracks forming in the corners of the rooms inside your home. 

Prevention and Repair

During a short-term drought, you can prevent foundation damage by watering the ground around the foundation walls of your home periodically to guard against shrinkage. Planting border garden beds with shallow-rooted plants can help keep the soil near the foundation moist since planted soil forms an insulating layer against moisture evaporation.

For areas with extended droughts, it's best to work with a foundation service. They can survey your soil to see if it is expansive and prone to severe shrinkage. Steps can be taken to stabilize the soil now before drought leads to soil gaps and a shifting foundation. 

Contact a foundation repair service if you are concerned about the effects of seasonal and long-term droughts on your home's foundation.