From orbit, NASA and its partners have four satellites (Jason-3, GPM, GRACE-FO, and SMAP) keeping watch on the evolving situation of our planet’s climate—particularly observing various aspects of our water levels ranging from soil moisture to the height of rivers and reservoirs. But the data being gathered by these satellites is painting an alarming situation: areas affected by drought are experiencing them more frequently and they are proving more severe. While the impact that drought can have on crops, forests, gardens, and wildlife is fairly clear, your own home is another thing that can be directly affected.
Let’s have a look into how a drought interacts with your home and how to deal with those drought conditions…
What Constitutes Drought?
As NASA describes it, drought is a “year with a below-average water supply”. During these drier times, plant life can suffer and cause a chain-reaction that has an impact on everything else in the area. There’s less food for animals, less crops for people, and less water available for all local life.
But while drought is seen as a kind of disastrous event, it is a natural part of the Earth’s climate cycle. But with the way that the climate is changing, these droughts are becoming more severe, happening more often, and their consequent impact is becoming more greatly felt by everyone.
How Can Drought Conditions Affect My Home?
Much like how a drought affects the land for crops, forests, and wildlife, it’s doing the same thing to the land around your home. Water is being evaporated and leaving the soil around your home foundation, which in turn causes the soil to dry and contract. It might sound harmless since it’s the opposite of when there’s too much water in the soil which creates a lot of hydrostatic pressure on your foundation, but this isn’t the case. Since a drought is part of the climate cycle, it means the rains will come eventually, and when it does the changes to your land will have an effect on your home’s foundation.
When the soil around your home dries and shrinks during a drought, it can create spaces between the soil and your home’s foundation. This creates a lot of free room for rainwater to flow into, where it will then begin to collect and sit against your foundation wall. This is when that water can become damaging to your foundation, lead to cracks, and eventually groundwater intrusion.
It is not just the soil around your foundation that can be affected by drought. The soil beneath your foundation can shrink as well, leading to uneven foundation settling, which can cause cracking in your foundation and sloping as the foundation sinks.
What Measures Can I Take to Prevent This?
There are several ways that you can help protect your foundation against the effects of drought. By taking both preventative and protective measures, you can prepare your foundation against those dry seasons. Have a look at some of these prevention methods…
- Watering Your Soil: Foundation problems caused by drought involve the soil shrinking as water is removed. So, to help prevent this, you can use a garden hose to give the land surrounding your foundation a gentle shower of water. This will help maintain the moisture levels in your soil and prevent that shrinkage from occurring.
- Move Your Trees Away from Your Foundation: If you have any trees that are situated close to your home, they can prove troublesome during times of drought. That’s because the tree’s roots will attempt to grow to seek out water as it becomes scarce, potentially leading those roots straight to your foundation where they can potentially cause damage. Move your trees away from your house to give it some room.
- There are professional solutions that can help with protecting your foundation throughout the climate cycle of your area, from waterproofing measures to reinforcement. Consult with a foundation company to learn more about your options.
If you should be planning to build a new home, it is important to consult with the proper experts to gain an understanding of the land your home will be built upon, and what measures should be taken to preemptively guard against both drought and rain. Different types of soil can have different interactions with drought conditions. For example, as WaterproofMag.com explains, “Drought problems are often more severe in areas with clay soil because this soil type is more likely to shift when dry.”
What If My Foundation Is Damaged?
Should your home foundation be damaged due to drought conditions, you may need to contact a professional contractor to provide foundation repairs. Foundation cracks may be filled with epoxy crack fillers or held together with carbon fiber products. If you have a case of a sinking foundation, helical piers may be used to stabilize and support your foundation. Consult with a professional foundation specialist to see what solutions are available—different types of foundation damage may require different products and methods to remedy the problem.
The best solution of all is prevention. Foundation repairs can be costly when they occur, and they only get worse with time when not addressed. By following the recommended prevention methods stated above, you can keep your foundation safe and strong, and prevent future complications to both your foundation and your home’s lower level.
Give us a call at (866) 485-6695 and we’ll have a specialist provide you with a foundation repair estimate and a zero-obligation price estimate!
Sources for Links:
Drought Makes Its Home on the Range
Protecting a Foundation from Drought