Water your foundation?
Yeah, it sounds weird, we know. Since concrete is not, like, a living thing and all. But hear us out. Because of the composition of the soil and the weather in Texas, foundation problems are common, and one of the biggest reasons is that the soil under your foundation will expand and contract, pushing and pulling against the concrete above.
A good way to mitigate this issue is to water your soil. Here’s how:
Get a Soaker Hose
You know soaker hoses, right? They’re usually black, and they don’t spray water so much as they sort of leak it through the fibers of the hose. They’re most commonly used in gardens, but they do this job well too. Don’t place the hose directly against the foundation. Put it 18-24 inches out. You can also use a drip line, which does essentially the same thing.
Plan it Out
The idea here is to avoid situations where the soil dries out or gets too saturated. You don’t want the water pooling, but you also don’t want it to just evaporate before it gets deep into your soil. This may take some trial and error, and it will change with the seasons, but a good rule of thumb with any kind of watering is to do it early in the morning or later in the evening, so as to avoid the hottest parts of the day when evaporation will be at its peak.
How will you know if you’re doing it right, you’re wondering. Here’s how: Two or three days per week, water for a half hour, then dig a hole.
Dig a hole 16-24 inches deep at all the different elevations around your house, and near the foundation. Grab a handful of dirt from the bottom of the hole and roll it into a small ball. Maybe two inches in diameter. If the ball holds together, you’re in good shape. If it crumbles apart, you need more water. If it’s just loose mud, you need less water.
Always make sure to obey local watering ordinances, of course, and if you think your foundation is cracking or dipping, call a professional. Foundation repair is a big job, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.