Drought Tough on Foundations

Drought and periods of extremely dry weather can be just as tough on your foundation as excess rain and floodwaters.

The soil around your home is an ever-changing entity. Certain soil types, like clay, are particularly sensitive to the amount of moisture in the ground.

When there’s a lot of moisture in the ground, the soil swells. During dry periods, the soil shrinks and contracts.

Close up gray concrete block with horizontal crack
Cracks in your basement foundation walls could be the result of soil instability caused by drought.

Extreme dry weather, such as drought, can cause drastic soil shrinkage. The dry cracks you see on the surface and repeated underground.

Soil movement can cause foundation movement. When your foundation no longer has a steady bed of soil to rest on, it can settle into the ground. This is when foundation cracks can form.

When the soil shrinks, gaps and voids form beneath your foundation. Space under the concrete reduces the structural integrity of your basement.

As dry soil contracts, it pulls away from your foundation walls, causing instability, cracks, and bowed or leaning walls.

The exterior signs of drought may be easy to spot. Your lawn is brown and crunchy. Parched plants are wilted and drooping. But how can you tell if the drought is affecting your foundation?

A door that’s difficult to open or close, windows that seem jammed or new cracks in drywall or plaster may be signs your house’s alignment has shifted as a result of foundation issues.

Brick homes experience more foundation problems during drought because bricks are heavier and put more pressure on soil than other building materials. 

Four USA outline maps.
NASA's Earth Observatory tracks soil composition and available water storage capabilities across the nation.

According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, “Soil is the sum of its parts.”

The basic ingredients include sand, silt, and clay of various particle sizes, as well as rock fragments, roots, live organisms, air, and water. However, depending on your location, the proportion of those ingredients can vary dramatically.

Soils with more sand tend to drain water faster than soils with more clay, while soils with more silt tend to have intermediate drainage properties. 

Areas with clay soil can be affected more severely during drought because the soil is more likely to shift when dry.

The repair solution depends upon the type of foundation damage. Solutions may include foundation piering systems (such as steel piers, push piers, helical piers or helical anchors) wall plate anchor, or helical tieback.

So what do you do next?

You need to call a professional repair team to determine your foundation repairs needs. Foundation cracks can be an indicator of a major problem and require immediate attention. 

Replacing a foundation is much more expensive than the cost of foundation crack repair in regards to foundation repair costs.

Use our website to find a contractor in your area, and then make the call. Protect the investment you have in your home or business with that call today.

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