Anyone familiar with owning a home in Oklahoma knows the saying: If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute because it’ll change. The extremes we face—from hail and tornadic winds to downpours, snow and ice—can challenge your property. And surprisingly, so can the intense high heat we get in the summertime.
Temperatures hovering in the 90s and above don’t just wear people down—they also pound at the dirt, drawing moisture away and causing our clay soil to shrink. And then, when it finally rains or cools, the clay expands, pushing at your foundation. It’s a one-two punch that is rough on homes.
Fortunately, there’s a simple, lasting solution to our region’s harsh weather extremes: a vapor barrier. Here’s how your house will benefit from having one installed.
How Heat and Humidity Wear Down Concrete Slabs
Exposure to the Elements
Because Oklahoma’s clay soil is so sensitive to the changing amounts of moisture in the air, it can shift a lot during the summer. Once temperatures rise above 90 degrees, the dirt around your home dries up and pulls away, potentially exposing your concrete foundation to damaging elements.
Too Much Settling
All houses settle over time. But when the high heat of summer goes on too long without relief, it puts concrete slabs at risk. As the heat keeps hammering at the soil, the moisture contained in it evaporates. These dehydrating effects continue to penetrate further down beneath your home. This causes the slab to shift more and more, and it can lead to cracks in the concrete.
Uneven Pressure on the Slab
As soil expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity, the ground around and beneath your foundation may shift in uneven ways—meaning some areas may move more than others. This puts pressure on your concrete slab, causing it to crack or break.
Mold and Mildew Underneath the House
Humidity in the outside air can create excess moisture in basements and crawl spaces. This occurs as dampness and puddling rain seep into porous concrete and linger. The result is nasty mold and mildew, which can damage stored goods and create unpleasant odors. They can also impact your home’s air quality, putting your family at risk of health issues.
To learn more about how excess dampness creates problems, check out this handy guide to the issues that moisture can cause your foundation.
Concrete Slabs Are Most Vulnerable to Heat and Humidity
Concrete slab foundations are very common in Oklahoma. And out of all foundation types, they are most likely to experience problems due to our region’s hot, humid weather and temperature swings. Simply put, the repeated expansion and contraction of our soil leads to cracks in the concrete that put homes at risk.
Cracked concrete is a problem in two ways.
- First, the breaks provide a place for moisture to go, leading to potential leaks, mold and mildew, and even rot or rust—depending on what’s nearby.
- Second, weakened concrete tends to break up further as time goes by, which means the problem continues to get worse.
Therefore, cracked concrete slabs need to be repaired to safeguard your home.
Cracked Concrete Causes Other Home Damage Too
As your concrete slab weakens and begins to fail, you’ll notice some tell-tale signs of foundation problems that are annoying at best, and potentially dangerous at worst.
- Uneven floors are unsightly and embarrassing if you’re hosting guests.
- Cracks in walls look unattractive and can impact architectural elements of your home.
- Off-kilter doors make your home less energy-efficient and doors harder to use.
- Gaps between windows and frames mean windows may be impossible to lock—putting you at risk of thieves.
- Stuck windows prevent you from enjoying healthy fresh air and also make it hard to exit your home in case of emergencies like fire.
- Puddles around your foundation can expose plant roots to too much water, causing them to die. And they can provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, rodents, and other pests.
As you can see, protecting your slab foundation from summer heat and humidity is essential to preserving the value and safety of your home—and it lessens the likelihood of costly repairs down the road as well.
The Benefits of Installing a Vapor Barrier
Commonly referred to as crawl space encapsulation, a vapor barrier is an effective way to protect your concrete slab from the wear and tear of Oklahoma heat and humidity.
This waterproofing membrane is made of a plastic or foil material that is applied to the walls inside your home’s crawl space. It keeps out excess moisture—preventing mold and mildew growth, unpleasant odors, insect infestation, structure rot, and water damage to your foundation from within the crawl space.
Protect Your Foundation and Preserve Your Home
The concrete slab your home is built on needs proper care to ensure it remains strong and secure. So, when you’re concerned that you may have damage, or you want solutions to address problems you’ve noticed, it’s smart to take action.
At Edens Structural Solutions, our team of experts will inspect your house and provide a straightforward assessment of its condition. If you need repairs, we’ll offer clear options so you can have confidence your property is safe.
Learn more about our foundation repair services, and contact us anytime. We’re here for you.