Foundation maintenance is required in order to avoid foundation repair. Clay soils can cause significant slab foundation problems in houses. Foundation service is often required to rectify the situation. These issues usually result from large variations in soil moisture. When dry, clay soils shrink in volume they can cause foundation settlement. When wet, clay soils (especially those in Texas) increase in volume and there is a lack of concrete slab maintenance, it and lead to foundation uplift. The opportunity for foundation failure is greatly diminished when the moisture content of active supporting soil along perimeter beams is kept uniformly moist, and maintenance on a concrete slabs is routinely performed.
The critical soil area is the first 18 inches away from the perimeter beam, to a depth of 3-4 feet. Foundation maintenance and general property maintenance calls for taking specific steps. As part of foundation maintenance in the Fort Worth area, proper drainage must be provided around and under the foundation and other maintenance should be performed to minimize repairs. Many steps may be needed, such as re-contouring of the existing grade, adding fill dirt around perimeter beams, installing sub-surface drains adjacent to the slab foundation in order to collect and re-direct run-off water away from foundation. Water should flow away from a foundation and never collect next to or under any part of a foundation. Keep soil grade 2-4 inches below top of perimeter beam and slope 1inch per foot away from the foundation for a distance of 4 feet.
There are many things involved with slab foundation maintenance in order to prevent concrete cracks. That’s because concrete slab foundations in Texas are prone to developing concrete slab fissures even though they are 4 inches thick and have perimeter beams that are 10 inches thick. Soil moisture content at the foundation perimeter should be maintained uniformly during ALL seasons to ensure slab stability and eliminate foundation repair concerns. When necessary (especially in the warmer months), a professionally installed sprinkler system should be utilized to maintain a consistent moisture level around a foundation, or else soaker hoses should be utilized and positioned approximately 18 -20 inches away from the foundation edges. When using soaker hoses, it is imperative to allow water to slowly soak soil until water is standing on the ground. The volumetric soil expansion that takes place should help provide uniform support to perimeter beams. Repeat watering when drying cracks are observed or when soil is obviously dry. In hot and dry seasons, the south and west sides of a house may require more watering due to increased sun exposure.
More Slab Foundation Maintenance Tips:
Water beneath a slab foundation can quickly have a very negative impact on foundation performance in Texas. At the first sign of a leak in the pressure or drain lines under a house, stop the water flow source and initiate repairs to the plumbing system. Under slab plumbing leaks can be detected through a simple hydrostatic pressure test performed by a licensed plumber on the concrete slab. It is important to note that under slab leaks will eventually lead to foundation failure that will require enlisting a professional foundation contractor in the DFW area.
Trees and shrubs can have a negative impact on slab foundation performance and lead to the need for repairs. Roots extract moisture non-uniformly from the soil around and under the foundation. Differential movement can occur when areas of soil at the perimeter beams lose significant moisture content. Trees should be planted no closer than 1-1/2 times their canopy width when mature. For vegetation, severing roots at the foundation, or installation of a root barrier may be required. Guttering assists in control of roof run-off away from the foundation. Downspouts should empty onto a splash box or extend 2-3’ from perimeter beams.
Poor soil compaction can also negatively impact a concrete slab foundation. Properly maintained supporting soils help prevent most differential movements, stresses and strains on a slab foundation and structure, thus providing satisfactory performance and extending the service life of a home.
Contact HD Foundations for concrete slab foundation repair in Fort Worth.