Moisture Changes Can Damage Your Foundation

Dec 2, 2016

Categories: Foundations

If you’ve read our blog before, you know how water and wet soil conditions can negatively affect your home’s foundation.  Water expands soil, shifts concrete, and can even start cracks that grow over time.  Because wet soil is so potentially dangerous to your home’s stability, it would seem that dry soil conditions are more desirable.  While this is somewhat true, dry soil can also pose a threat to your home’s foundation.  A middle ground is best, but when soil fluctuates between dry and wet, the resulting damage can be devastating.

How Does Soil Type Affect Foundation Settlement?

The ability for excessive moisture or extremely dry conditions to affect your home’s foundation heavily depends on the type of soil that your foundation is built upon.  Soil made up of predominately sand can shift and even runoff in extremely wet conditions.  In dry conditions, however, sand loses some of its adhesiveness, which can also lead to foundation movement.  Clay soil, on the other hand, tends to shrink and expand when moisture levels in the soil fluctuate.  As mentioned earlier, the fluctuations are extremely hazardous to the building’s structural integrity.  This is because the fluctuations can accelerate the damage being done to the home’s foundation.

How to Prevent Moisture Fluctuation and Foundation Damage

We’ve established that a middle ground is ideal when it comes to the moisture level in the soil around your home.  But we haven’t found a way to control the weather quite yet, so this may seem like an impossible task, especially during periods of heavy rain or extended droughts.  Although you can’t make it rain or shine, depending on what your soil needs, there are a few things that you can do to protect against foundation damage against overly dry or wet conditions.

During periods of drought and excess heat, experts suggest increasing the moisture levels of the soil surrounding your foundation by simply watering it.  If you choose to use this method, however, it is important to remember not to apply water directly to the home because it may allow water to enter the home.  Instead, water a few feet away from the foundation and let the soil absorb the water naturally, drawing it toward the home without risk of water damage.

Maintaining moisture levels during periods of excessive rains is a bit more difficult, but it can be done.  The best way to ensure that soil moisture levels don’t get too high is to have proper runoff around your home.  Water runoff is something that most home builders consider during new construction, but if your home isn’t properly graded or is retaining too much moisture in the soil, installing a drain pipe is a potential solution for keeping soil moisture at ideal levels.

It may be difficult to determine if extremely dry soil, overly wet soil, or a fluctuation between the two is to blame for foundational problems.  Not everyone’s soil makeup surrounding their home is the same, and determining how drought or flooding affects your soil, in particular, is important in determining how to repair your foundation and prevent future damage. CNT Foundations in South Carolina is well versed in determining the problem ailing your home’s foundation and using the best techniques and products in the industry to repair it. Call us today for a free estimate to see how we can restore and strengthen your foundation.