Watch Out For Expansive Clay Soil

Dated: 02/06/2018

Views: 251

Most homes in the Dallas - Fort Worth area will eventually have some kind of settling issues due to the expansive clay soil.  When I first moved here, it was the first time I ever heard someone tell me I had to water my foundation.  "Water my foundation?" I asked.  "Whatever do you mean?" 

Let me share some information with you so you can better protect your home.

Expansive clay soil, is soil that can either increase in volume when wet or decrease and crack in volume when dry.  This can play havoc on a home's foundation.  When water remains constant around the foundation, this generally will not create a problem.   The greatest damage occurs when significant and repeated moisture content changes.  Dry---Wet----Dry----Wet---Dry

When soil increases in volume from absorbing water, it is expansive clay soil.  This soil will also shrink and dry out during long periods without water.  The damage is done slowly and not with one specific event.  Because of this, most blame is put on the construction of the building which can be false.  Damage can happen to any age of home, it is not selective on which home it attacks.  Typically homeowner's insurance will not cover damage that has occurred to a home from this type of cause.

What can you do about it?

  1. Maintain constant moisture levels around the perimeter of your home.  Lay a soaker hose around the foundation of your home.  When you see the soil start to pull away from the foundation, fun the water through the hose to water our foundation. 

  2. Check where your trees are planted.  Summers get very hot here and the trees need a lot of water.  If you are not providing it, they will go in search of it under your foundation.  What to look for - tree roots grow out as far as the branches of the tree.  If your tree branches are over your roof line, then chances are the roots are under your foundation.  You cant set  up a root block in front of the foundation which will divert the tree roots farther underground.  You can make sure you water the trees generously in the hot months to keep them from searching for water.

  3. Check what kind of bushes you have planted around your home.  Some of them have very deep roots and will cause problems just like the trees.  I would recommend removing those plants and changing them out for foundation friendly shrubs.

  4. Install a sprinkler system and make sure your garden areas are adequately covered.  Depending on the area you live, you may still want to use a soaker hose due to neighborhood water restriction in the summer.

If you already have settling,  a sinking slab or cracks in the foundation, bricks or walls of the home, here are some recommendations:

  1. Walk the perimeter of your home and make sure that water does not pool around the foundation.  Usually older homes will have uneven grading around the home due to soil erosion and water will pool.  Should you have this problem, regrade the spots so the water will flow away from the foundation.

  2. If you cannot regrade, you may to consider a french drain.  This type of drain will allow the water to flow away from your foundation underground and out into the yard where it can be absorbed.

  3. Last resort would be to put piers under the foundation to stabilize the movement.  Once movement has been stabilized, repairs inside and outside can be made to the home.

Owning a home is one of the biggest investments people make.  Take care of it so you can get the best return on your investment!

For more information regarding this subject or others to help position the value of your home, please contact me.

[email protected]


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Victoria Thompson

Victoria Thompson has collectively lived in the Dallas area for over a decade, having recently moved back from the Kansas City area. Victoria loves the uniqueness that the DFW area has to offer - fro....

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