The foundation of your home is something you almost never see. After all, it usually hides underneath your house and those parts you can see are hidden behind grass and flower beds. However, whether you are a homeowner, property manager or even just a responsible renter, you eventually begin to wonder how your foundation is doing. If your doors are even and there are no cracks in your walls, at the very least you can rest assured that your foundation is currently in good condition but what can you do to make sure it stays that way? You’ve heard that some people tackle this concern by watering their foundations, but you may not be certain why they do this, what it accomplishes and, most importantly if you should be doing it too.
Why Foundations Need Watering
Your house isn’t a plant, it doesn’t need water to grow and it won’t eventually produce a seed pod that will grow another house. However, it is set into the ground and requires the soil beneath it to be stable so that the foundation remains flat. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem and you shouldn’t need to worry about that enormous concrete slab under your house. Droughts, however, are the exception. When the ground becomes incredibly dry, especially if the soil in your region is full clay. When clay soil dries out it contracts, creating less surface area for the foundation to rest on, and the foundation sinks.
Sometimes the soil will not have contracted evenly so the foundation will sink to different levels and sometimes in different directions. This can cause cracks as the foundation tries to move in multiple directions at once. Then, when the soil gets moist again, it expands and pushes the foundation back into place which can either close the cracks or make them worse by expanding unevenly as well.
With this process outlined, it’s easy to understand why so many people have taken to watering their foundation. It’s not about the plants, it’s about keeping the soil moist enough to prevent the foundation from sinking and cracking.
When to Water Your Foundation
Now that you know why foundations need watering, you can easily guess that the best time to water your foundation is when the yard starts to get dry. There is, in fact, one sure-fire way to know that it’s time to water your foundation and that’s to look at the line between the dirt in your yard and the foundation itself. Normally, if the soil is moist and expanded, the dirt should press against the foundation. However, if it’s about time to water, you’ll see that the dirt and any plants on it have pulled away from the foundation creating a space you could slip fingers or a hand into. This means the dirt is getting too dry and has begun to contract.
How to Water Your Foundation
The good news is that watering your foundation isn’t hard at all. You can do it actively or passively depending on the equipment and skills you have for the task as your goal is simply to moisten the soil around and under your house so that it expands and continues to support the foundation. The best way is to plant some leafy shrubs, flowers, or other greenery along the foundation line and simply water them all year. The next easiest answer is a soaker hose (one with lots of small holes) along your foundation line turned on once a day or set on a timer like sprinklers. Finally, you could always just spray down the area around your foundation daily during especially dry weeks.
Caring for your foundation is an important job, but it doesn’t have to be a hard one. If it’s been raining regularly and the ground outside is moist and springy, there’s no need to worry about your foundation. You only need to water when it’s dry enough for the soil to pull away from the concrete. For more helpful information about your foundation or to consult with a foundation expert, please contact us today!