If you are curious about how to protect your home’s foundation from water problems in Dallas, you have come to the right place.
In this Regional Foundation Repair guide, our experts explain how often you should water your foundation in Dallas, answering questions like:
- What Happens When You Don’t Water Your Foundation Enough?
- What Factors Determine How Often You Should Water Your Foundation in Dallas?
- What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Near the Foundation?
And many more!
Due to the climate extremes in the area, homes in the North Texas region are prone to numerous foundation problems. In many of these cases, water is a common culprit. While most owners are aware of the issues that excess water can cause their homes, most do not know that the lack of water can also damage their homes’ foundations.
In and of itself, dry soil will not harm your foundation. It is the alternating of dry and wet seasons that you should worry about.
In areas like Dallas, where humidity and temperature levels fluctuate regularly, the expansion and contraction of the soil causes a lot of strain on the foundation. Eventually, the foundation will give way and shift or crack, creating various problems in your home.
As such, you must keep the condition of the soil around your home within a healthy range to maintain the integrity of your foundation. This goes for both dry and wet seasons.
In the rainy seasons, you should take the necessary measures to keep water away from your crawl space and foundation. On the flip side, during periods of extended drought, you should water the soil around your home to prevent various stressful foundation issues.
If you are experiencing any foundation issues and would like assistance, fill the form provided with the details of your project and our specialists will reach out to you. We could also schedule a free inspection to establish the magnitude of your problem and suggest the most appropriate solutions.
Otherwise, read on to learn more about watering your foundation.
What Happens When You Don’t Water Your Foundation Enough?
Water is life, but only in moderate amounts. In excess, it is a destructive agent responsible for various problems, ranging from the loss of lives to damaging homes and property.
On the other hand, a shortage of water is equally bad. At worst, the lack of water will result in the death of crops and livestock, leading to famine.
For homeowners, the lack of water in the soil will cause damages to the foundation, threatening the structural integrity of their homes.
In Dallas, most of the soil is expansive, with a high clay composition. During the rainy season, expansive soils absorb high amounts of water, which cause them to swell, exerting pressure on the foundation of homes.
While this, in itself, is a problem that you should solve to avoid foundation issues, it is the dry season that follows that makes matters worse.
As explained earlier, the climate of North Texas fluctuates highly, changing from periods of rain to dry seasons. When a dry spell follows a wet season, many different issues may impact your home’s foundation.
When expansive soils lose water, it dries up and shrinks, pulling away from your home’s foundation. This is followed by various issues:
First, when the soil on which the home sits shifts, it leaves the foundation hanging, and the weight of the home pushes it down to occupy the space. The movement of the foundation will destabilize the house, resulting in cracks on the foundation walls and floors, windows and doors sticking, and uneven floors and patios, among other problems.
Second, when the soil shrinks and pulls away, it relieves the pressure it had previously exerted on the foundation. When the soil becomes moist again, it expands and pushes against the foundation. The alternating push-and-pull force weakens the foundation and leads to the formation of cracks.
Eventually, the cracks expand, further weakening your home and causing other problems such as moisture and pests sneaking in.
By watering your foundation regularly to keep it from becoming too dry, you will avoid the issues above and save yourself from unnecessary costs and inconveniences.
What Factors Determine How Often You Should Water Your Foundation in Dallas?
Since excessive moisture in your foundation will create more problems, you should take care to give it the right amount of water.
Below are some factors you should consider when determining how much water is the right amount for your home’s foundation.
There are essentially two main soil types: granular soil and expansive soil.
Granular soil is composed mainly of sand and gravel, making it easy for water to seep through it. This type of soil does not pack together when wet and also crumbles easily when dry. With granular soil, the biggest problem will be erosion, which will result in the movement or shifting of the foundation. Fortunately, this is not a common problem in the North Texas region.
Expansive soil, on the other hand, is mainly composed of clay. The high compaction and elasticity of this soil makes it notorious for absorbing moisture and swelling during the wet season, and shrinking and cracking during the dry spells. This is the main type of soil in the Dallas and North Texas region.
In this area, the soil is basically in a constant cycle of expansion and contraction all year round. Because your foundation rests on it, it moves as the soil shifts. Over time, the foundation will shift unevenly in different places, causing problems such as cracks on the walls and floors, water seepage in your foundation, uneven floors, etc.
Therefore, for houses built on expansive soils, you should maintain a constant level of moisture. This involves draining excess from the soil when it is wet, and watering it accordingly when dry. This way, you will have eliminated the alternating expansion and contraction of the foundation, preventing it from causing any issues.
Type of Foundation
The type of foundation also plays a role in determining the right frequency for watering your home in Dallas. With shallow foundations such as concrete slabs on grade or foundations under porches, patios, and crawl spaces, the contraction and expansion of soil caused by varying moisture levels is a big issue.
For shallow foundations, the house is in direct contact with the soil, experiencing the full impact of its contraction and expansion. Within no time, you will start to notice signs like uneven floors and patios, cracks on the crawl space walls, and the heaving of floors.
For deeper foundations such as basement foundations extending probably 7-10 feet into the earth, hydrostatic pressure is exerted to the exterior by the soil swelling. This could cause the bowing of the basement foundation walls.
With these types of foundations, you should keep the soil moderately hydrated during the dry seasons to prevent it from shrinking away from your home and causing problems.
For pier foundations, the piles are fixed deep into the soil, raising the home above the grade level. Since the foundation is supported by the deeper soils that are more stable, the expansion and contraction of the upper soils will not affect it, keeping it safe from foundation issues.
The home is also raised above the grade-level soil, protecting it from the effects of soil movement. As such, these types of foundations do not require a lot of watering during the dry season.
Predominant Weather Conditions
As mentioned earlier, the state of the soil surrounding the building is what usually affects the foundation. The soil, in turn, is affected by predominant weather conditions such as temperature and humidity levels.
For homes in constantly wet climates, there will be no need to water the foundations. Instead, homeowners will have to take various measures to reduce the effect of excess water on their homes. These include installing sump pumps and French drains and waterproofing the foundation, among others.
On the other hand, homes in dry areas will require constant watering to keep the soil properly hydrated. In such places, failure to water your foundation will cause the soil to shrink away from it, causing it to sink and form cracks.
For the Dallas and North Texas region, homeowners have to worry about both dry and wet spells. Here, the amount of watering depends on the season.
What Are the Dangers of Excess Water Near the Foundation?
As mentioned earlier, excessively moist soil is just as bad, if not worse, than dry soil. Therefore, you should be careful not to overdo it when watering your foundation. Also, during the rainy seasons, you should take measures to keep the excess water away from your home’s foundation.
Below are the various reasons you should not let too much water accumulate near your foundation:
When the expansive clay soil common in the Dallas area is exposed to excessive water, it will absorb most of it, increasing in volume until it becomes saturated. When water is in a limited space, its molecules will push against the surface of the container, generating an outward force known as hydrostatic pressure.
If your foundation is continuously surrounded by saturated soil, hydrostatic pressure will push water molecules against your foundation wall. Since concrete is porous by nature, the molecules will eventually find their way into the pores, gradually expanding until they become end-to-end cracks.
Besides drastically weakening your foundation, the cracks will facilitate water entry into your crawl space and basement, resulting in an array of moisture problems.
Reduced Comfort and Energy Inefficiencies
When your foundation is exposed to excessive moisture, it is only a matter of time before the issue spreads to your floors and walls. Water in your floors and walls will alter the humidity and temperature of the home, reducing your comfort level. The high humidity levels will make the air heavier, resulting in the internal temperatures becoming exaggerated.
For instance, during the hot summers, the highly humid air in your home will absorb more heat, making the house uncomfortably warm. The moisture-laden floors and walls will also act as insulation, preventing excess heat from escaping.
These exaggerated conditions make it uncomfortable to dwell in your home.
Besides the reduced quality of life, moisture problems also cause energy inefficiencies in homes. Due to the constantly fluctuating temperatures, you will have to run your HVAC system for longer to keep the rooms comfortable. The result is a higher energy bill and a larger carbon footprint that ends up hurting the planet.
Health Issues and Unpleasant Odor
Excessive moisture in your foundation is not just a structural problem but can also result in low air quality and health-related issues. When your crawl space, basement, walls, or floors are damp, they will attract the growth of mold and mildew.
The mold and mildew, coupled with the dampness, will result in an unpleasant odor hanging in the air. They will also attract other creatures such as insects and rodents, whose droppings and dander will further reduce your home’s quality of air.
Besides the discomfort, mold and mildew could also cause serious health problems. Their spores are allergens that can trigger adverse reactions and aggravate respiratory problems in susceptible individuals.
When too much water collects in the soil surrounding your home, it will lose its load-bearing capabilities over time. This will, in turn, cause it to shrink and shift, resulting in the sinking of the foundation.
Since the shifting of the soil happens unevenly, the foundation will sink differently in various areas, exerting pressure on the structural components of the home. The result is uneven floors, cracks on walls and floors, sticking of doors and windows, and most seriously, cracks in the foundation.
To prevent the water-related problems discussed above, homeowners should invest in both preventative and restorative measures. These measures include the installation of French drains, crawl space encapsulation, proper landscape grading, and ensuring the downspouts and gutters are in prime working condition.
How Do You Keep the Soil Around Your Foundation Moist?
By watering your foundation, you prevent the soil surrounding your home from becoming excessively dry. Watering helps maintain a constant moisture level content in the soil, minimizing foundational shifts from the expansion and contraction of the soil. It is also important that you water the soil evenly to avoid uneven shifting of the foundation.
Below are the various ways you can go about watering your foundation:
Use a Sprinkler System
A sprinkler or an irrigation system is a great option for watering your home, especially if you cannot be present to do the watering manually. Ideally, you want the sprinkler to be placed such that the water lands on the soil 10-15 inches from the foundation rather than on the foundation itself.
Automatic sprinklers can be set 15-20 minutes daily, preferably after the sun has gone down to prevent rapid evaporation and reduce the amount of water used. The sprinklers should also be set in a manner that they do not splash water onto the foundation.
Use a Soaker Hose
An alternative approach is to use a soaker hose. These do not spray water like sprinklers but spew water at low pressure (sort of leaking out) through the fibers of the hose. Soaker hoses are most commonly used in gardens, but they are also effective when watering your foundation.
Soaker hoses allow for even watering and also minimize evaporation. A soaker hose can be used on ground level or covered by a layer of mulch to reduce evaporation and achieve the best result. You can also bury the hose up to 4 inches deep, with the downside that it will be difficult to monitor.
Considering how hot it gets in the Dallas area during dry summers, you will probably have to run the soaker for 15-20 minutes a day, three to five days a week.
Plant Shallow Rooted Shrubs
Another effective way of keeping the soil around your foundation moist is planting leafy shrubs or other plants with non-invasive roots along your home’s perimeter. You then need to keep these shrubs constantly watered, which eventually keeps the surrounding soil moist. You should also avoid deep-rooted shrubs and large trees as they consume excessive amounts of water which can dry up the soil.
You can decide to go for the simple manual approach, where you will use a garden hose to water the soil around your foundation. When using this approach, you have to ensure that you water from the perimeter of your house up to about three to four feet out. You have to make sure to water all around evenly. You should ensure that the soil absorbs the water and not just dampens slightly.
How Can a Foundation Expert Help?
When it comes to foundation watering, you have to be careful not to go overboard. Even though it is possible to do the watering on your own, you should consult reputable, insured, and accredited foundation contractors such as Regional Foundation Repair.
Our experts have a massive understanding of the predominant soil and climatic conditions of the entire North Texas Region from Plano to Frisco to Houston and even the DFW area. Our experienced team of contractors will offer foundation maintenance consultation, inspect your foundation, and offer an estimate for any repairs required.
We also offer a lifetime warranty on all repairs done so that you do not have to worry about future damages once you partner with us. You deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your foundation will last for generations to come and preserve the investment in your home. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us if you notice any signs of foundation damage.
Tell us more about your foundation issue today in the form provided, and we will reach out with a free, no-obligation price quote for the repairs.