Repairing and leveling a concrete slab foundation is an expensive and time-consuming task. During periods of extreme drought there is little to nothing the homeowner can do to maintain a constant moisture content of the soil around and under the home. The heat, evaporation, and water withdrawal by plants and trees is too great for a homeowner to battle with a garden hose. However, during periods of relatively mild weather a homeowner can maintain uniform soil moisture around his or her home. Here are 5 helpful and free tips for home foundations in Texas that can help limit or prevent damage.
1) Keep the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level. The soils present throughout Texas have a tremendous capacity to absorb (and lose) water. This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab which is resting on top of the soil. Keeping the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level with seepage water hoses will help reduce the chances of needing house leveling in the future.
2) Keep a log of any minor cracks inside or outside your home. Write down the location and length of any cracks and remeasure them several times a year. If the cracks are growing, it may be time for a free home foundation inspection from Dawson Foundation Repair.
3) Install root barricades when a large tree is too close to your home foundation. Or remove the tree.
4) Check your homeowners insurance policy. It may cover some of your foundation repair or plumbing repair costs.
5) Do your research. Your home is an important and valuable asset. After comparing our company and our bell bottom pier repair method against the competition, you will discover a foundation repair company with decades of experience, hundreds of online testimonials, and a proven, time-tested, permanent solution for your home foundation.
Foundation Maintenance after House Leveling
Once the repairs are completed, the concrete slab should be maintained properly to reduce the possibility of future soil movement and therefore home foundation movement. Your home now has a more stable foundation after repairs, but extreme weather changes and extreme soil movement can cause further problems. The following minimum preventative measures are recommended.
1) Proper maintenance of the concrete foundation slab includes sustaining relatively constant moisture content of the soil adjacent to the slab foundation. Uniform moisture content can be accomplished by evenly watering next to the foundation slab, especially during dry periods and in the hot summer. We recommend an aggressive watering program be initiated. Two systems can accomplish this need. One is a buried foundation watering system with the water line buried twelve inches away and at the depth of the grade beam attached to a flow control box equipped with a filter to prevent sediment from clogging the line and a rain cutoff switch. The second method is simply placing soaker hoses around the perimeter 7 to 12 inches from the grade beam and using a battery-operated, programmable timer, which eliminates the human error factor of turning it off and on. More water is wasted due to evaporation and run-off using the second method. Watering of the foundation will not cure existing foundation problems or prevent them from occurring. However, it is the best preventative maintenance method and will slow any rate of deterioration.
2) Provide positive drainage away from the slab perimeter. Any standing water near the foundation slab, current or future, should be eliminated. This will promote even moisture content underneath the slab and thus less movement of the soils beneath the foundation slab.
3) An ample amount of water should be provided to large trees surrounding and near the concrete foundation slab. High growth of dense vegetation near the concrete foundation slab should be avoided. Watering of the trees, especially in dry periods, will prevent a situation of differential moisture content in the soil beneath the foundation slab. Remember, differential moisture content – adjacent areas of soil with different moisture content – can cause home foundation problems.
4) Ground elevations of the surrounding flowerbeds should be maintained so that the slab is at least three to four inches above the finished ground, and the flowerbed should be sloped away from the slab for proper drainage. This will also prevent the seepage of moisture into the wall system or inside the residence through weep holes in the brick veneer walls. This is the most common mistake of homeowners and landscapers!
5) The residence should not be allowed to go for a substantial period without being heated or cooled. This will eliminate major temperature variations and reduce the concrete slab’s potential for expansion and contraction.
6) The plumbing system, potable water lines, and sewer lines should be checked periodically to insure that there is no leakage. Water leaks cause differential moisture content and any leaks should be repaired immediately.
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