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House in a drought

If you live in an area that has issues with drought, it is important to be aware of this and make sure you take any precautions necessary to protect your property. Extreme drought can cause cracks in the foundation which can be costly for the homeowner.

Areas of the U.S. Most Affected by Drought

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), drought in a region is categorized by soil moisture, streamflow, and precipitation levels. It affects the production in agriculture, reducing the farm income and negatively affecting food processing and agricultural service sectors, possibly also increasing food pricing on regional and national levels. Drought is most severe in the Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and New Mexico. In March of 2022 it was found that more than 20 percent of land in the Western States is experiencing exceptional drought.

What Should You Know About Drought & Your Foundation?

Most homes are built on a foundation composed of sand, silt, and clay. Each of these materials is affected by water differently. Water easily runs through sand, while clay expands when it encounters water. Both can affect the foundation of your home negatively in drought conditions. For example, if clay expands when it touches water and then shrinks when it dries out, it causes an uneven foundation, which can make your home unstable.

Signs of Foundational Damage due to a Drought

  • Cracks in the ceiling, drywall, siding, crown molding, plaster, basement floors, and tiles
  • Windows and doors that to do not shut or align properly
  • Broken pipes
  • Water in your crawl space
  • Sloping floors
  • Staggered chimneys and porches that are falling apart
  • Gas meter that is askew

What to do to Avoid Foundational Damage Due to a Drought

The main thing that you can do to help save your foundation from a drought is to water it. Walk around the outside of the home and see if there are any gaps between the soil and the bottom of the concrete foundation. If you notice shrinkage, you should lightly water it to prevent it from getting even worse. You can create a dedicated irrigation zone about eight to 18 inches from the foundation. Another easy way to water your foundation is to use a drip irrigation or a soaker hose attached to an outdoor faucet that you can set up with a timer to water when you choose to do so. You should make sure that you have a backflow preventer so that the water doesn’t go back into the pipes. Irrigation supplies can be found at the local hardware store.

It is important that as a homeowner, you are informed about any existing local watering restrictions and follow them. You should check any water sprinklers and outdoor hoses and equipment and ensure that they are working properly, or water your foundation by hand using a hose.

As much as it is important that you water your foundation, it is also crucial to ensure that you do not overwater it as that will case the edge of the foundation to be raised above the edge of the interior or what is called an edge lift. Watering twice a day for 15 minutes with a soaker hose and a timer should be enough.

Cracked ground from drought

Other ways to help safeguard your foundation include:

  • Structural wall repair and reconstruction
  • The foundation’s settling correction
  • Retaining structures such as walls
  • Repairing drainage problems
  • Concrete grading
  • Planting trees away from the foundation

What to Do if You Already Have Drought Damage

If you’ve already experienced drought damage, there are ways to fix it and protect it from future damage. Here are some things you can fix:

  • Minor cracks in the foundation can be fixed with foundation sealer.
  • Install a pier under the home so that the foundation cannot shift due to movements in the soil.
  • Inspect the home from the outside and if you are unsure how to tackle the repair, make sure to call a professional company to do so. You do not want to wait for collapsing walls, a broken sewer, or other major damage to occur to address the issue.

Drought conditions can cause major damage to your home. Whether the damage is done to your walls, driveway, or patio, it is important to always be on the lookout for foundational damage. Finding and addressing issues with your foundation will help prevent any further and costly structural damage. Always walk around your home and look for changes in the foundation. Also, inspect the inside of your home for cracks, shift in the floors, or any other changes that may signal foundational damage.

Contact a Professional Restoration Company

If your home has drought-related damage, make sure to contact our professionals at ServiceMaster EMT. We are a full-service disaster restoration company that provides complete water restoration, fire damage repairs, mold removal, reconstruction, commercial and residential restoration, hoarding cleanup and more. Check out our website or contact us to find out more about our services.

You can call us at (800) 376-6678 to learn more about our professional emergency water restoration services in Southern California and Nevada. Calling us right away will help prevent further damage to your home.


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