Due to dry climate conditions in many regions, it’s important to know how often you should water your foundation. By making sure that the soil around your foundation doesn’t get excessively dried out, you can avoid slab foundation cracks and pier and beam issues. Homes that are positioned on clay soils warrant special attention.
Consider Heat When Determining How Often You Should Water Your Foundation
In areas such as the Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas metroplex, where temperatures reach 100% degrees, your house foundation should be watered every single day during the dry months. It’s best to keep the clay soil around your foundation damp, but don’t get it too wet. That’s because too much moisture can do as much harm as not enough water. If you walk around your foundation and the ground is squishy, you’re applying way too much moisture.
When utilizing a sprinkler system, let the system run for approximately 15-20 minutes a day. It’s best to do this after the sun has gone down in order to ensure that the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly. Make sure the water is not splashing directly on your house or right next to the foundation. Ideally, the water should land about 10-15 inches from your foundation. The idea is to try to maintain a relatively constant level of moisture around your foundation in order to prevent it from becoming too dry or too wet. To learn more, find out how hot summer weather damages foundations.
Signs That Your Foundation Soil is Too Dry
Some critical indicators indicate you need a watering foundation solution for your home or building. If you see any of the ground signs below, it’s time to call for professional help.
- Cracks: Noticeable cracks in the soil around your foundation can indicate dryness. These cracks form as the ground shrinks due to moisture loss, potentially compromising a building’s stability and requiring foundation watering.
- Difficulty Penetrating Through Soil Surface: If it’s hard to push a screwdriver or a soil probe into the ground near your foundation, it suggests overly dry soil, which can lead to settlement and structural issues.
- Uneven Foundation Settling: Uneven settling of your home’s foundation can result from uneven moisture distribution in the soil. Dry pockets cause differential settling, leading to sloping or uneven floors.
- Soil Separation: In extreme circumstances, when the soil around your home is getting very dry, the ground will look like it’s pulling away or separating from contact with your home’s foundation, which is a severe sign to look out for.
If you notice any of these symptoms near your property’s foundation, you may need to call professionals for proper watering foundation solutions.
How Does a Watering Foundation Work?
Foundation watering is a technique used to protect the foundation of a building, home, commercial space, or other structure by maintaining consistent soil moisture levels around the foundation. It’s a strategic approach to maintaining moisture levels in areas prone to more heat at certain times of the year.
Proper foundation watering is important, particularly in regions with expansive clay soils, as it can help prevent foundation damage caused by soil expansion and contraction due to changes in moisture content.
Here’s an outline of the essential steps in foundation watering:
Understand the Soil Type
Before you start any watering, it’s important to understand the soil type around your property. Different soil types have varying water retention and expansion capacities. For instance, expansive clay soils are particularly prone to swelling when they absorb water and shrink when they dry out. Adjust your watering schedule depending on the soil type in your area.
Here are examples of watering adjustments you can make depending on the soil type on your property:
- Watering Expansive Clay Soils: Expansive clay soils are particularly prone to swelling when they absorb water and shrinking when they dry out. To prevent damage to your foundation in areas with clay soil, you should water more frequently during dry periods. Water these soils every 2-3 days during dry and hot weather. However, you should monitor soil moisture levels and adjust the frequency.
- Loam and Sandy Soils: Sandy and loam soils tend to drain more quickly. They generally require less frequent watering. In areas with loam or sandy soils, you may need to water less often, such as once a week, and ensure that the water penetrates deeper into the ground.
- Mixed Soil Types: In some areas, you may have a combination of soil types. In this case, consider the dominant soil type and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Establish a Watering Schedule
A consistent and controlled watering schedule is essential to water the soil near your property’s foundation efficiently. Typically, you’ll want to saturate around the foundation during dry periods, especially during hot and dry seasons. The watering schedule should ensure the soil remains evenly moist but not overly saturated.
Use Soaker Hoses or Drip Irrigation
Setup soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems are often used to moisten the area around or near your property’s foundation. These systems allow for slow and even water distribution directly to the soil, minimizing water wastage and ensuring deep penetration.
In the event you’re using a soaker hose to protect your foundation, you should water it more frequently because these types of hoses release water slowly. As a general rule, running the water for about 45 minutes to 1 hour is often enough to help protect your foundation from cracking or moving. Since all sides of your foundation can suffer damage when it’s hot, you’ll need to have multiple soaker hoses. These are things that you can buy at any regular home improvement store. All things considered, they’re a very inexpensive way of helping you to maintain your foundation.
Divide the Property by Zones
Divide your property into different watering zones based on the needs of each area. The foundation should be one zone, but you may have other landscaping zones with varying requirements for watering.
Adjust Watering Depth
The goal behind watering depth is to maintain consistent soil moisture at a depth of about 6 inches to 12 inches below the surface. This depth is the root zone of most foundation-supporting vegetation. Avoid shallow watering, which encourages shallow root growth.
Monitor Moisture Levels
Use a moisture meter to test soil saturation. Adjust your watering schedule as needed based on the moisture level.
Applying mulch around the foundation and landscaping zones can help retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and keep the soil temperature consistent.
Ensure Adequate Drainage
Ensure that water does not pool around the foundation. Proper grading and drainage systems should be in place to direct excess moisture away from the foundation.
Make Adjustments for Seasonal Changes
Your watering schedule needs to change with the seasons. During hot, dry summers, you may need to water more frequently. Reduce the frequency in cooler, wetter seasons.
If you need more clarification about how to water your foundation correctly or if you notice signs of foundation issues, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional, such as a structural engineer or a foundation specialist.
Proper foundation watering can help maintain the stability and integrity of your home or commercial space, preventing foundation settlement or cracking caused by soil movement. It’s essential to strike a balance between maintaining soil moisture and preventing overwatering. Excess moisture buildup can lead to mold growth and other structural issues.
About Clay Soils and Watering
These types of soils found under foundations in the North Texas area are well known for being expansive in nature. That means that when they get really wet, they’ll puff up and get larger in volume. The reason you don’t want to overwater your foundation is that too much water can push it upwards. That can ultimately lead to a lot of difficulties. To be on the safe side, just keep your soil moist, but don’t overdo it.
If you see any indications that your foundation has suffered damage, contact HD Foundations. We’ll be happy to inspect your property and make recommendations.