Making sure your home stays strong and safe involves more than just basic upkeep—it’s a big undertaking that can impact the overall longevity and safety of your property. One popular method often discussed for this purpose is watering the soil around your home’s foundation. We recommend using a Controlled Watering Program. While not a universal fix for all foundation related concerns, watering around your foundation will help mitigate some of the issues we experience during hot Texas summers. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of keeping the soil around hour home’s foundation moist, the limitations, and the best techniques to consider (and which ones to avoid).
Why Soil Moisture Levels Matter
The primary objective of utilizing a Controlled Watering Program is to prevent the soil around the grade beam of your foundation from drying out, which could lead to the soil to shrink. This can cause your home’s foundation to become unsettled, possible causing signs of stress like cracked walls, doors that stick, and uneven floors. This is especially true during hot and dry spells, making it crucial to monitor the moisture levels in the soil. In many areas of Texas, even when watering restrictions are in place, local guidelines typically allow watering of foundations as long as certain rules are followed. Check your city’s water department website, Facebook page, or give them a call for details.
Can Watering Fix Existing Problems?
If your home is already showing signs of foundation problems, watering might help slow the progress of further damage, but it cannot fix what’s already happened. Watering should be viewed as a purely preventive measure with a distinct set of limitations.
What Watering Can Accomplish
There are a few things that watering your foundation can do:
- Soil Hydration – Keeping the soil moist prevents it from shrinking, thus maintaining a stable base for the foundation.
- Aesthetic Landscaping – A well-watered area around the home makes for healthy flowerbeds and attractive landscaping.
- Soil Shrinkage Control – During hot or dry conditions, maintaining moisture levels helps minimize its shrinkage, reducing the risk of foundation settlement.
What Watering Can’t Accomplish
While there are some benefits to watering your foundation, here’s what watering can’t do:
- Long-Term Elevation – It won’t restore a sunken foundation to its original elevation.
- Drought-Proofing – Watering can’t prevent systemic issues like widespread drought effects.
- Fixing Uneven Ground – If your home is on a sloping lot or there are other lot-related issues, water won’t resolve them.
The Risks and Trade-Offs
Watering the foundation area isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and comes with its own set of trade-offs:
- Water Bills – Excessive watering can significantly increase your water bills.
- Over Watering – Introducing too much water could result in drainage or other issues that compound foundation problems.
When Should You Water Your Foundation?
Although the notion of watering to prevent issues may seem futile, it can still serve as a helpful preventive measure. To assess when to water, observe the line between your yard’s soil and the foundation. If the soil starts pulling away from the foundation, creating a gap, it’s a sign that the soil is too dry and needs watering.
Techniques for Foundation Watering
If you decide to proceed with watering, it’s essential to do it the right way. Here are some techniques to consider:
- Soaker Hose – This is the most affordable method, ensuring even water distribution without causing excessive dampness.
- In-Ground Watering Systems – If it’s within your budget, installing a watering system is the most effective way to maintain moisture levels.
- Hand Watering – You can attempt to water the soil around your foundation by hand, but we don’t recommend it as water needs to be introduced back into the ground slowly, and gradually.
- Monitoring the Weather – Duing periods of extreme drought, you should consider increasing your watering frequency. If your area experiences a decent amount of rainfall during a drought period, do not turn your yard into a swampy mess by watering directly after. Monitor the soil conditions and proceed accordingly.
What Not To Do
While your neighbors have nothing but the best of intentions, following the wrong advice can lead to further issues. Here are a few suggestions from well-meaning homeowners we’ve seen on social media:
- Do Not Place a Hose Directly in Cracked Soil – If you introduce too much water by running a garden hose directly in deep cracks, or in a gap between the grade beam of your home and the surrounding dirt, you could cause the soil under your grade beam to collapse, which could result in etensive foundation damage.
- Do Not Use Concrete to Fill Gaps Under Your Grade Beam – when the weather cools down and the rains return, the soil will start to expand. If you fill a void with concrete, the soil will rise up against that solid surface and press the concrete up into the slab.
If your home is already experiencing foundation problems, the most effective solution is professional foundation repair. To obtain specific, expert advice tailored to the needs and circumstances of your property, it’s wise to schedule a free consultation with one of our foundation specialists. Doing so can help you navigate the complex waters of foundation maintenance, enabling you to make well-informed decisions that can prolong the lifespan of your home, without wasting time, money, or effort.
Who to Call?
If you’re having dry soil issues, or for any other problem with your home’s foundation, you can’t do better than to reach out to the foundation repairs professionals here at Structured Foundation Repairs based in Dallas-Fort Worth. We specialize in both slab and pier & beam foundation repairs for residential and commercial properties. We also offer drainage correction and polyfill concrete lifting. Founded in 2003 by Texas A&M graduate Tom Kidd, the business has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings with just 3 employees. We prioritize customer service and ethical business practices, as encapsulated in our motto “Do the Right Thing”. We have received the Aggie 100 award twice, recognizing us as one of the 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned companies worldwide. In 2023, Mr. Kidd sold Structured to our employees, making us 100% employee owned. Our services begin with a free, comprehensive evaluation, including elevation surveys, to determine the necessity of repairs. If needed, repairs are expedited efficiently, often within a day, in collaboration with local licensed engineers. We are fully insured, and our services come with a lifetime transferable warranty on piers.