Too much water in the soil can cause serious foundation problems; however too little water can also be problematic.

Depending on various soil characteristics, drought conditions can cause foundation cracks and other problems that could result in leaks and other damage to the base of a home.

Avoiding serious drought-related problems that will require costly foundation repair service starts with knowing how it happens and what can be done to prevent them.

How Do Droughts Change the Soil?

Expansive soils comprised partly or mostly of clay can be significantly affected by both too much and not enough water.

When long periods without water occur, these soils constrict and compact, directly affecting the foundations sitting within them.

Foundation problems arise due to increasing pressure around the foundation when soils constrict or when pockets of air open up beneath the structure.

While the need for foundation repairs is not evident during these periods of drought, the damage becomes more obvious once the rains start again and damaged areas start leaking.

Foundation repair services find that it is the weeks and months after a drought that they receive the most requests to deal with new foundation issues.

What Foundation Problems Happen During Droughts?

Structural damage caused by drought conditions can appear as foundation cracks and a number of other problems that could necessitate expensive repairs.

Foundation repair services suggest that upon noticing any of these problems, homeowners should have a professional inspect their foundation and determine the cause and what should be done about it:

  • Visible Cracks - Foundation cracks caused by soil shrinkage and compression against the foundation are the most common symptom of damage relating to drought conditions.
  • Leaks, Seepage, and Dampness - Foundation problems like leaks and basement dampness can start happening after a drought due to fine or even significant cracking or destabilizing of the foundation.
  • Uneven Floors - Soil compression that creates pockets beneath a structure could allow uneven settling, which can be noticed as uneven floors in the house.
  • Broken Pipes - Underground pipes, or even those in the home, can break if significant shifts in the foundation occur due to soil shrinkage or the sudden expansion that happens post-drought.
  • Racked Doors and Windows - Windows and doors that no longer close easily are a symptom of racking due to foundation settling, many times caused by damage from soil constriction and compaction.

Can Drought Foundation Problems Be Avoided?

While there is no stopping Mother Nature in terms of the weather, foundation repair services do have a few suggestions for controlling or avoiding the damage caused by soil constriction:

  • Watering - If possible, keep the soil directly around the foundation watered to prevent extreme shrinkage where the soil is known to be of clay makeup. It may result in a higher water bill for a few months, but it is a much cheaper alternative to needing foundation repairs that could cost tens of thousands of dollars depending on the severity.
  • Avoid Planting Trees Close - Trees planted close to the house will absorb the water in the soil faster, creating dryer conditions around the foundation.
  • Appropriate Foundation Preservation Solutions - From external water barriers to doing foundation crack repairs and drainage installation, when it is impossible to avoid the pressure from shrinkage, other solutions can at least stop the leakage and destabilization.

Extreme Drought Causes Foundation Problems Too

To prevent costly foundation problems, homeowners must understand that either extreme - not enough water or too much - can be damaging.

In some cases, foundation repair services can provide preventive solutions in regions where problems are common.

Overall, homeowners should simply be aware of the damage that drought can cause and when repairs might be necessary once the rains come again.

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