Foundation Maintenance Tips

Watering During Water Restrictions


During extreme drought conditions, North Texas will have watering restrictions put in place by your city or county.

Please read your city or county watering guidelines. The main restrictions are normally limited to your yard. Most restrictions allow you to water your foundation with a soaker hose for up to one hour every night.

Foundation Watering

The goal of foundation watering is to keep the water content of the soil under your foundation as consistent as possible. Since it can’t be kept out of the rain, the best thing to do is to keep the soils around your home reasonably damp during the drier months. To be successful in this endeavor, adopting a watering program is the strongest first step that you can make.

Soaker hoses are much more effective than sprinklers because they maintain a steady amount of water in the area around the foundation; rather than a sprinkler that shoots water at a higher velocity and constantly spreading across the yard. With the steady water provided by a soaker hose, moisture can reach past the immediate weather affected zone. Keep in mind that the more trees and large shrubs that you have on your property, the more you will have to water. Plants will use up water very quickly on a property, and the larger the plant the larger the amount of water it requires.

To provide even watering, proper placement of your soaker hoses is required. A soaker hose should never extend more than 25 ft from its point of connection to the faucet, and should never be placed flush against the foundation. The proper placement distance from a foundation for a soaker hose is approximately 12-18 inches, depending on the slope of your foundation; if your yard runs downhill, then the hose should be closer and vice-versa

How Often Should A Foundation Be Watered?

There is how to guide that tells you how much your home needs when it comes to watering. Observing your foundation over the course of time is the best way for you to tell how long you need to be watering. If soil is pulling away from your foundation and the weather is hot, dry, and windy-Water Lots! If the soil isn’t pulling away and it’s overcast-Water a Little! Remember, the amount of moisture on the surface of your lawn is not a good way to measure how you’re doing, it is possible for the surface to be soaked, and one to two feet down totally dry.

The best way to tell that you’re doing a good job watering your foundation is if you have no problems with you house.

DO NOT use a metal pole to probe the soil. If you accidentally hit a buried electrical line with a metal pole, you could be electrocuted!

What If Foundation Watering Isn’t Working?

If watering does not work, you may need foundation repairs. In Texas, call (817) 469-1090 for Tarrant County or (972) 444-0303 for the Dallas office to set up a FREE evaluation.

A Guide To Soil Moisture & Foundation Damage

maintenance-issue-2Foundation problems can be caused by loose soil, not enough water and many other reasons.

If all the soil beneath a foundation swells uniformly or shrinks uniformly, it is unlikely to cause a problem. But when only part of the foundation heaves or settles, differential movement causes cracks and other damage.

Water is the main enemy in expansive soils problems. There is either too much water, causing the soil to swell, or not enough, causing the soil to shrink.

Most differential movement is caused by differences in soils moisture. After construction, soil beneath part of the foundation becomes wetter or drier than the rest of the soil.

When there is a gain in soil moisture:

maintenance-issue-3This is the most serious threat since the swelling potential of expansive soils is much greater than the shrinkage potential. Moisture gain can come from plumbing leaks, subsurface water like wet weather or a high water table, or surface water. Surface water is improper drainage of landscape water or rainwater.

When there is a loss of soil moisture:

The soil may be at or near its optimum moisture content when the foundation is built, but it may lose enough moisture during a drought to cause the foundation to settle. Settlement is usually greatest near the perimeter of the foundation where the soil dries most quickly.

If the soil content is very low when a slab-on-grade foundation is poured, soil to the slab edges regains moisture first because it is directly exposed to rain water or irrigation water. If the soil moisture is extremely high during construction, the slab will hold in the moisture except at the perimeter, where it is exposed to more wind and heat. In cases like this the slab edge loses moisture at a different rate than the soils under the house and the house will settle.

If the bearing soil was not compacted properly during grading, the foundation is subject to settlement as the supporting soil consolidates.

Another concern is when a structure is supported by various soil conditions. In this case the house may settle differentially. As an example, if one half of the foundation sits upon expansive clay and the other half bears on select fill and/or rock, the amount of seasonal movement will vary from one half to the other half. If the foundation system is not properly designed, the differential movement may cause damage to the foundation and structure.

The importance of drainage

gutters house

Poor drainage can be a major contributor to soil moisture gain. Roof runoff should be directed away from the house through the use of gutters. Gutter downspouts should not be permitted to discharge the water next to the foundation. Surface drainage next to the foundation should slope away from the house approximately ¼ inch per foot. See the videos below regarding drainage on both concrete slab foundations and pier and beam type foundations.

See why is the most trusted name in foundation repairs in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex area– Contact MBR today!


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What If Foundation Watering Isn’t Working?

If watering does not work, you may need foundation repairs. In Texas, call (817) 469-1090 for Tarrant County or (972) 444-0303 for the Dallas office to set up a FREE evaluation.

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