Summer Foundation Checklist

Houston, known for its affordable housing options, continued job growth, cultural diversity, and world-class attractions, offers an enticing living experience. However, there is one aspect that doesn’t share the same appeal—the condition of its soil. With a high clay content, Houston’s soil is highly susceptible to seasonal fluctuations. During the winter, it expands significantly, only to shrink just as much during the summer.

In recent years, many Houston homeowners have faced summertime challenges, growing increasingly concerned about the impact on their landscapes and foundations. Fortunately, this checklist provides simple yet effective steps that can help safeguard your foundation against drought and its adverse effects.

Step #1: Inspect Your Foundation

To prevent serious structural issues, it is crucial to conduct regular inspections of your foundation. By identifying the initial signs of damage early on, you can take timely action. If you haven’t inspected your foundation before, it is essential to do so as soon as possible. Look for specific problems like soil shrinkage, cracks, or signs of detachment from the structure. Additionally, inspect both the exterior and interior of your home for any cracks in the foundation, walls, floor, or ceiling. Should you notice cracks or other indicators such as warped ceilings, sagging floors, or doors/windows that don’t close properly, it is important to seek the expertise of a certified foundation repair contractor for further evaluation.

Step #2: Water Your Foundation

In times of drought, the soil surrounding your foundation can dry out, leading to detrimental consequences. As the soil shrinks and becomes parched, it is prone to cracking or even detaching from the foundation. Without the necessary support, your foundation may struggle to bear the weight of your home, potentially resulting in damage.

The simplest and most effective measure you can take to safeguard your foundation during the summer months is to maintain a consistent moisture level in the soil surrounding it. Achieving this balance can be accomplished by regularly watering the area using a timer-controlled sprinkler system or positioning a soaker hose approximately 18 inches away from the foundation.

Consistent and measured water absorption into the soil acts as a preventive measure against foundation problems or, at the very least, mitigates their progression. While watering your foundation, it is essential to monitor the soil for signs of excessive runoff or standing water. Excessive runoff indicates an excess of water that surpasses the ground’s absorption capacity, while pooling water around your home suggests potential drainage issues

Standing water poses a significant risk as it saturates the soil, leading to potential foundation failure. In essence, when clay soil absorbs excessive amounts of water, it becomes overly soft and unable to adequately support the weight of your entire home. Consequently, your foundation may sink and settle unevenly, causing severe structural damage to your home over time.

Step #3: Review Your Watering System

Whether you rely on a timer-controlled sprinkler system or a soaker hose to water your foundation, it is crucial to perform regular checks to ensure its proper functioning. Failing to do so may result in the soil drying out and shrinking within a matter of hours. While immediate foundation effects may not be evident, neglecting issues with your watering system can potentially lead to future foundation complications.

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    Step #4: Install Root Barriers and Relocate Intrusive Landscaping

    Trees, shrubs, and plants can enhance the beauty of a Houston home. However, planting them in close proximity to your home can have detrimental effects on both the siding and foundation. The roots of these vegetation types actively seek moisture in the soil, leading to potential foundation damage. Even if you water your foundation, during dry weather, the root systems of trees, shrubs, and large plants near your home can extract significant amounts of water. This can result in substantial soil changes around and beneath your foundation. Over time, unsupported areas of your home may settle unevenly, leading to differential settlement. To mitigate these negative impacts, there are two options: implementing root barrier systems or relocating trees, shrubs, and plants that may pose a threat to your foundation.

    AAA Foundation Service

    By following this comprehensive summer foundation checklist, you can effectively safeguard your home against potential foundation damage. Regular maintenance and quickly addressing foundation issues are vital to maintaining the integrity of your home and avoiding costly repair expenses. For a complimentary consultation or further details on additional measures you can take to protect your foundation during the scorching Houston summer, reach out to AAA Foundation Service today!

    Chris Bartlett
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