Watering Your Foundation

Controlled Watering Program

Expansive soils act like a sponge. As they absorb water they swell and as they lose water they shrink. Soils tend to dry out (and shrink) during the summer and to absorb water (and swell) during the winter and spring. As the soil under a house shrinks and swells with the seasons, the house will move up and down. As long as the movement is not great enough to damage the house, most people do not consider the movement to be a problem. If the up and down movement of a house always returns the house to its original level position, then damage to the house may appear and disappear on a regular basis as the seasons change. If the homeowner wishes to stop seasonal damage, the first course of action should be to follow a controlled watering program. By keeping the moisture content of the soil under the house constant, foundation movement can often be stopped. PRO-SELECT FOUNDATION REPAIRS has written this handout to assist the homeowner in performing a simple preventative maintenance program.

The goal of a watering program is to maintain a constant level of moisture in the soil under the house. The best way to water is to place a soaker hose from one to two feet from the edge of the foundation. Placing the hose a short distance from the foundation allows the water to soak into the soil evenly. The hose should not be placed against the foundation. When soil has dried and cracked, water can travel along the cracks for several feet in all directions. If the soil around your foundation is dried and cracked, then water placed next to the foundation will run through the cracks and accumulate at the bottom of the grade beam (the thick portion of the foundation that is under the exterior walls). In some cases, an accumulation of water in the soil, at the base of the foundation can cause the soil to lose some of its load bearing capacity. If the soil loses enough load-bearing capacity, the house will sink into the ground.

Obviously, it is necessary to water more during hot, dry weather and less during cold, damp weather. The amount of water required to keep a foundation stable during the sum can be surprisingly large. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water, or almost 20 cubic feet of water, from the soil each day. Shrubs and other plants can also remove large quantities of water. During persistent hot dry weather, it may be necessary to water a foundation daily. Watering should supply enough water to keep the moisture content in the soil under the foundation constant. If the amount of water applied is only enough to keep the surface damp, the watering program will not work. Obviously, the homeowner is the only one who can weigh the benefits of controlling foundation movement versus the increased size of the water bill.

Pro-Select Foundation Repairs
Select The Best… Above The Rest
(817) 542-0313
psfr1.com

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About proselect

Owner/Operator: Pro-Select Foundation Repair
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One Response to Watering Your Foundation

  1. Maggie Dorst says:

    10/1/11

    You all just left and I wanted to tell everyone of the experience I had with your company from the initial consultation to the finished product.

    First, Julio is a true professional and will quote you on what you need, there was no bull about “extras”. He states the facts and then you can go from there.
    Julio was always available for my calls and worked on my time schedule.

    Second, Gilbert and the crew – what can I say??? You had to work on my difficult soil and bedrock for two days and you were AWESOME!!! Not only do I feel safe again in my house, you left it looking better on the outside (and inside) then what you found it!! Your crew was amazing – and very efficient. (I can’t belive you even put the leaves back where you found them!! HA!) I was able to visit and get anwsers to ALL my questions throughout the experience and I appreciate your patience with that .

    I truly like to understand what is goiing on and what I am paying for. Which is another topic, your pricing was very fair and within my means. i have recommended your group even before completion of the project and now so more than ever since you have completed all the needed repairs (and a few extras…like moving large items to where I needed them so they were out of your way and mine!!)

    Your crew was totally professional and I know I couldn’t have done ANYTHING like they did – such hard workers!!

    You were a blessing to come into my life and make my house a safe home again.

    I don’t know what else to say but Thank you.

    Maggie Dorst

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