Is Drought Sinking Your Home?

dried and cracked soil

In times of prolonged drought or dry spells, the soil that surrounds your home contract, which leads to foundation issues. Prolonged dryness pits your home’s foundation against deeply rooted trees for the battle for water. Now, you’re probably confused. If you’re supposed to prevent your foundation from soaking up water, why shouldn’t you let the trees get all the water?

Water vs. Foundation vs. Trees

First off, you must keep water from pooling around the foundation of your home, and that’s where well-graded soil, downspouts, and gutters come in. However, moist soil could aid your home’s foundation from uneven settling or sinking, which could result in cracks to your foundation, walls, and facades.

During droughts, when huge shrubs and deeply rooted trees grab whatever moisture they can, the soil would contract and enable your foundation to sink. Van Matre Construction, LLC and other concrete foundation contractors agree, as this could be especially problematic if your home is built upon fat clay, which is soil that significantly contracts and expands depending on the level of moisture it could suck up.

If your foundation sinks evenly, the damage would be minimal to none. However, landscaping, sunlight, and moisture levels vary on every side of a home, which causes the soil to dry out and your foundation to sink unevenly. When this happens, you’ll begin to see cracks on walls, sloping floors, and doors and windows get stuck.

Preventing Your Foundation from Sinking

The most practical way to prevent sinking in time of dry spells is to ensure that your soil, trees, and plants are sufficiently hydrated so that they won’t have to compete with each other for water. If applicable, you could likewise transplant or plant trees away from your home’s foundation so that their roots won’t fight against your foundation for water. Note that roots branch out to the edge of leaf canopies so if there are branches that are in contact with your home, that tree could pose a problem.

If you notice signs of foundation issues, you must seek help from a foundation specialist as soon as possible to find out how you could address the issues and prevent them from occurring in the future.