Foundation Water Maintenance Tips
Due to the high clay content of soils found in North Texas, it is very important that your foundation be consistently watered to help stabilize your foundation. That’s right. If you live in North Texas, you have to “water your slab”. Clay bases soils are very expansive, meaning, when they’re wet, they expand. When they’re dry, they contract. This can be noted by the large cracks commonly seen in playgrounds, parks, pastures and even the soil directly in contact with your homes foundation. Here are some tips on how to achieve consistent water content to the foundation of your home. The photos at the bottom of the page are illustrations of a good way to effectively water your foundation in an affordable manner.
Since we can’t control the rain, we use a watering program to regulate water content during the dry periods, whether it be in the winter of summer months. A consistent watering program will keep the soil damp approximately four feet deep. Bare in mind, flower beds (areas with plants) will require more water because the plants are thirsty too.
With a few items bought at the local hardware store, and a couple hours of your time, you can construct a simple automatic watering system that will efficiently maintain acceptable water content.
A good way to water your foundation is with the use of soaker hoses and electric timers. In order for the watering system to be effective, the soaker hose should be placed 15-18in away from the foundation, and run the necessary amount of time.
Most neighborhoods do not have enough water pressure to run the soaker hoses from one hose bib to the other. Therefore, it is necessary for the soaker hoses to be split with the use of a “Y” connection, and run in opposite directions of a distance that will allow equal water flow all the way around the house.
DO NOT place soaker hoses next to the foundation, as this can erode the soil at the base of the foundation parameter. The necessary amount of time depends on the amount of rainfall…and don’t forget about the plants. In other words, the hotter, drier, windier and sunnier it is, the more you need to water. The cooler, wetter and cloudier it is, the less you need to water.
Do not determine the amount of water needed by the wetness of the soil at the surface. A good way to determine soil wetness is to use a plumber’s probe. A plumber’s probe is made of fiber glass, with a “T” handle, and is approximately 4 ½ ft long. If your soils are too wet, the probe can be pushed with little or no effort. If you cant push the probe at all without banging on it, the soils are too dry. Indications of good water content can be seen when the probe can be pushed 3-4ft by leaning heavily on the handle. Never use metal probes, as electrical lines are often buried near the house. Accidental penetration could cause you to be electrocuted.