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How Weather Can Affect Home Foundations

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A strong home foundation is crucial in any season, but hot summers and cold winters can weaken your home’s foundation.

It’s easy to forget this critical area of your home. After all, you can’t see it. But foundation damage is a big problem in Texas that could lead to structural damage throughout your home. Paying some extra attention to your foundation during extreme weather is important.

The sooner you notice an issue, the better. Here’s a look at how the weather can affect your home’s foundation.

Heavy Rainfall

Excessive rainfall can affect your foundation in a number of ways. When it rains, the soil absorbs rainwater.

When it’s saturated, the soil swells like a sponge and pushes on your foundation. When the soil can’t absorb any more rain, the water finds somewhere else to go.

Unfortunately, it can leak into your home through cracks and other openings. When the soil is soft, wet, and mushy, it can cause your foundation can settle.

Hot Weather

As you know, it gets seriously hot in Texas. High temperatures plus a lack of moisture (aka Texas drought state of mind) can be detrimental to your foundation which can lead to cracks and leaks in your home. Needless to say, hot weather is hard on your home and your foundation.

Dry weather causes your soil to contract or shrink. When the soil around your foundation dries out due to hot temperatures, it may cause your foundation to settle.

This only creates more problems, including cracks and leaks, weak structures, and a sinking foundation. If you’re tired of trying to deal with foundation problems on your own, it’s time to call a professional home foundation service.

Cold Weather

Although repeated freeze-thaw cycles are rare in Texas, they do happen – dare we say “snowpocalypse?”. This condition can occur in any area that has mild winter weather.

If the temperature dips below 32 degrees after a snowy day or icy rain, the soil will freeze on top. This turns the moisture and water that’s present into ice. As it warms up, the ice and melting snow saturate deeper layers of soil. When it gets cold again, the water trapped in the soil refreezes and expands. This causes the soil to expand, continuing the process.

As it goes on, the underlying soil freezes and expands at greater depths. This can lead to pressure under your foundation and may result in structural damage, including cracks in your walls, floors, and ceiling.

High Winds

You may not realize that high winds can affect your home’s foundation, but they can. That’s because strong winds can lead to an uplift. This happens when the wind flows over the roof and causes your home to separate from the foundation.

This wind pressure can move your home, causing it to rotate, tilt, or slide off the foundation. Year after year, this damage increases, creating new cracks and worsening existing ones.

Protecting Your Foundation

The soil expands and contracts due to weather changes and so does concrete – very similar to a sponge. During the cold snaps, your foundation expands. As it warms up, it contracts.

This is a never-ending cycle that can take a real toll on your foundation. Luckily, you can take some precautions to protect your foundation whatever the weather.

Installing French Drains

Installing French drains is a way to protect your foundation. This helps keep rainwater away from your foundation.

The drains are placed beneath the ground, and water flows through a perforated pipe beneath a layer of gravel.

French drains divert stormwater, causing it to flow downhill, away from your home. This protects your foundation from excess water and is especially helpful during cold and rainy weather.

Concrete and Moisture

During the hot Texas summers, concrete takes a beating. One thing you can do to help prevent problems is to water your concrete foundation and slabs.

Adding moisture can prevent or slow your soil and concrete from contracting. Adequate moisture can help prevent your foundation from cracking.

Keeping the moisture level consistent around your foundation is key.¬†Sprinklers can be a helpful solution. Make sure they reach your home’s foundation during the hot summer.¬†Installing a sprinkler system is a great way to take care of this task with little effort on your part. Whether you’re using a sprinkler or are doing the watering yourself, aim for 15 to 20 minutes a day for the best results.

Plant Location

You may love having a yard full of trees and plants. But it’s important to consider where you’re planting your foliage. When roots grow too large, they can spread under your foundation, causing it to crack. A good rule of thumb is to keep trees and large shrubs close enough to keep the soil moist but far enough so the roots won’t affect your foundation.

Large trees are especially troublesome when they’re too close to your home. They draw in all the moisture, creating drought-like conditions for the soil surrounding your foundation. If you have large trees close to your home, you may want to consider having them taken down or transplanted.

You can also consider using mulch around your trees or flower beds found near your home’s foundation. Mulch can be helpful by preventing moisture from evaporating too quickly.

Trust the Foundation Repair Experts at FSS

Any type of extreme weather can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation. Hot and cold temperatures and rainy and dry weather can all disrupt the integrity of your home’s slab or pier and beam foundation.

To protect your home, it’s a good idea to call a professional who understands foundations and has experience with these kinds of repairs.

We are here to help. If you’re in Austin, San Antonio, or the surrounding area, we specialize in foundation repair for home and business owners. We also offer concrete repair, waterproofing services, and crawl space encapsulation.

We’d love to talk to you about your home foundation needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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