How Can Summer Foundation Damage Be Prevented in South Carolina?

Apr 29, 2017

Categories: Foundations

As the foundation repair experts in South Carolin, we anticipate foundation repairs during the summer months. Homeowners have more leisure time to focus on major home improvements as there is less rain during the summer. It is because of the lack of rain that many of us neglect to protect one of our most valuable assets – our homes. In this article, we will discuss the ways in which summer foundation damage can be mitigated and the importance of watering your home’s foundation in South Carolina.

What is a Major Cause of Summer Foundation Damage in South Carolina?

What makes our state so attractive are some of the same elements that cause damage to a home’s foundation. South Carolina has salt marshes and coastal dunes, rolling landscapes, and mountains. The state also has a humid subtropical climate, causing the coast to have mild winters with warm and wet summers.

Our attractive climate can also play havoc on a home’s foundation. One of the largest foundational issues is also one of the easiest to prevent – soil movement.

As the temperature nears 100 degrees, the soil around your foundation shrinks, sinks and moves. This movement causes the foundation to bend due to uneven moisture under and around it.

How Can I Prevent Soil Movement Under My Foundation in South Carolina?

To help prevent soil movement, water your home’s foundation. Watering reduces the amount of shrinkage as it is absorbed into the soil around your foundation, thus, also helps to prevent cracking. One of the best methods of watering your home’s foundation is with the use of soaker hoses. Soaker hoses are effective but you must have good drainage that drives water away from the foundation.

It is also important to note that soaker hoses should not be placed against the foundation. When the soil is dried and cracked, water travels along the cracks for several feet in all directions. Water placed next to the foundation will run through the cracks and accumulate at the bottom of the grade beam. A grade beam supports an exterior wall of your home. It is recommended to place the soaker house about 18-22″ from your foundation.

Another good way to help ensure that enough moisture finds its way to your foundation is by installing rock beds 18” – 24” away from the foundation. These beds allow rain and sprinkler water to penetrate deep into the soil around your home.

Water accumulation in the soil at the base of a foundation can cause the soil to lose some of its load-bearing capacity. If the soil loses enough load-bearing capacity, the house will sink into the ground. 

How Much Water Is Needed to Prevent Foundation Damage in South Carolina?

The amount of water required to keep a foundation stable during the summer can be surprisingly large. Your foundation is in competition for water with trees and shrubbery. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water from the soil each day.

It is ideal to keep the soil’s moisture at a 5 on a scale of 10 so that it does not get too dry or too wet. Consistent moisture is a key. Use a screwdriver as a quick test of the foundation’s water needs. Stick the screwdriver into the soil and water more if the screwdriver tip is dry and less if it is caked in mud.

Can I Use Well Water or Water Pumped From a Pond or Lake to Water My Home’s Foundation in South Carolina?

Well water typically contains debris and minerals that can cause clogging. Using specified calcium filters can help prevent some clogging. White residue or deposits on a soaker hose can indicate there is an excess of calcium in your water. By using a calcium filter, you can greatly reduce most blockages caused by calcium. Depending on the hardness of your water, calcium filters should be changed yearly.

Pond or lake water is not recommended. Among other things, the sand and algae will certainly cause your soaker hose to malfunction from the inevitable clogging.

How Can Hydrostatic Pressure and Erosion Cause Foundation Problems in South Carolina?

There are several causes for foundation damage in South Carolina, including hydrostatic pressure and erosion. Hydrostatic pressure is caused by excess groundwater causes an increase in pressure that may put stress on the foundation, thus, causing it to shift and crack.

Erosion can cause severe damage to a home’s foundation during heavy rains. Heavy rains can wash away soil under your home causing gaps. Since these gaps cannot support the structure, the foundation will settle into them as a result.

How Often Should I Water My Home’s Foundation in South Carolina?

Watering should be used on an as-needed basis to protect your property. Considering how hot it gets in South Carolina, you will probably need to allow for 15-20 minutes a day, three to five days a week. Of course, only you can determine when the soil around your foundation is dry and in need of moisture.

How Can I Save Money by Watering My Home’s Foundation in South Carolina?

One of the most common reasons that some homeowners give for not water their home’s foundation in the summer months is because they are trying to save money. The fact is that watering when temperatures are high can save you $2,500 to $10,000 on the cost of foundation repairs if you stop problems. Seasonal conditions make a big difference in your foundation and it pays to be proactive and prevent foundation damage.

The average cost of a home in South Carolina is $247,000 and at nearly a quarter of a million dollars, your investment can be destroyed through neglect or simply not knowing how to care for it. When most people think of a home’s preventive maintenance, they think of what they can see – roof, siding, paint – all of which will be insignificant if the foundation crumbles. The professionals at CNT are local and ready to answer any questions you may have about your home’s foundation and preventative maintenance.