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Drought Conditions Damaging House Foundations

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Visual concept of brick foundation and a depiction of a house with a crack running through it. | Image by Francesco Scatena, Getty Images

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This dry summer is putting many homes at risk for foundation damage. Just like you should check your roof after hail, experts recommend that you check your foundations during a drought season.

“We are in a severe drought situation,” Olshan Foundation Solutions’ Blane Bartley said. He explained that in these arid conditions, “Everything’s moving; sidewalks, driveways, houses.”

Ramona Delatorre, a North Dallas resident, said in a CBS DFW interview that in her neighborhood, “the streets are breaking apart. You’re driving, and the road is like this,” pointing out the uneven and cracked roads.

Some foundations have taken more damage than others. 

“You see how it’s breaking?” Delatorre pointed out cracks in her home’s foundation. She added, “This is new.”

For Delatorre, the damage is so pervasive that it is hard to miss.

Dry summer days can do a lot of harm to the foundations. Jared Golden, the owner of AAA Guardian Foundation Repairexplained the process, saying, “Once we stop getting the rain and the drought kind of kicks in and we don’t have any more rain and the ground starts shrinking… houses get a lot more movement in the summer.”

As Bartley puts it, “As the dirt moves, so does your house.”

Foundation repair professionals caution against simple cosmetic repairs that do not address the issues causing the problem. They say that the problem will only get worse and more expensive.

Olshan crews use steel and concrete cylinders driven 25 feet below the surface to stabilize a house with severe damage. The goal is to stop the home from continuing to shift, explained a representative for Olshan.

“Two years ago before the pandemic and everything happened, our average job costs somewhere between four thousand to eight thousand dollars, and now our average job costs somewhere between probably 10 to 14 thousand,” Golden said.

Now above all, it is critical to maintain your foundations.

Golden says, “Watering is going to help maintain the moisture level around the house and under the house, and so what that’s actually doing is keeping the clay soil as consistent as possible so that you don’t get that up and down movement.”

Bartley agrees and says that despite water restrictions in some communities, investing in your home is essential. He suggests ignoring the grass and watering the perimeter of your house with a soaker hose.

“This is your biggest investment. Focus on the perimeter of your house and watering that as much as you can,” Bartley said.

Delatorre knows first-hand how bad it is to pay for foundation repairs; she has had to do it before. She said that she had spent $11,000 two years prior, and now, she says, “it’s shifting again.”

Delatorre plans to use the same company that did the repairs in 2020. Experts encourage savvy homeowners to vet foundation companies carefully. Lifetime guarantees are only good for the life of the company.

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kevin
kevin
1 month ago

I have a condo that has 3 other units all sharing the same foundation slab. This summer the usual cracks in my walls are a little bigger. With dryer and hotter summer, and sharing 4 units on one slab, is it feasible to do just one units foundation?

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