Ensuring that the soil surrounding your home’s foundation has the right moisture levels is important. This is especially true in areas like Texas that have expansive soil conditions.
Sadly, foundation irrigation isn’t a widely taught practice, but it can have immense benefits for your home. Specifically, it can help you avoid costly foundation repairs.
Extended dry periods can cause the soil beneath your home’s foundation to shrink. When this happens, your home will gradually settle. Unfortunately, the sinking doesn’t occur uniformly.
One part of your house may settle more than the others. This differential settling is what may cause your foundation to crack and eventually to fail.
When it rains, the expansive clay soil absorbs water and swells. The swollen soil then pushes up against your home’s foundation causing it to crack. Besides the cracks, you may also notice that your doors and windows are becoming difficult to open and close.
More extreme damage occurs when cracks in the foundation cause the brick veneer to crack or separate, chimneys to shift and pipes to break.
To mitigate these forms of damages, you need to irrigate your home’s foundation. In this article, the experts from Granite Foundation Repair, a foundation repair company servicing DFW area, share important tips on how to determine when and how much you should water your home’s foundation.
1. Create a dedicated irrigation zone around the house for the watering foundation.
If you have a watering system, create a dedicated irrigation zone for your foundation. Mixed zones are tough with the unbalanced water requirements for all the plants. On the other hand, a dedicated zone allows the watering to be consistent.
While watering systems vary widely in design, a drip watering system works best in this regard. This is essential because drip delivers water at a very slow rate – which is usually a drip at a time.
You should install it near your foundation and schedule the watering accordingly.
2. Plant, grow, and water plants around the foundation.
Plants surrounding your home’s foundation help minimize soil erosion and moderate soil temperature. In addition, plants help shade the soil from excessive evaporation of soil moisture.
If drought restrictions limit how much you can irrigate, ensure that the irrigation method is as efficient as possible. Make sure that your sprinklers are working at their best. Ensure that the settings on your irrigation controller are set to short cycles rather than long cycles.
You could also further reduce moisture loss by adding mulch under the shrubs.
3. Attach a soaker hose or a drip irrigation to an outdoor faucet with a timer when watering the foundation.
Here are the options that you may choose:
a. If you don’t have a watering system for your foundation, protect your foundation by installing either a soaker hose or a drip irrigation around your foundation. Next, connect the system to the outdoor faucet.
Generally speaking, soaker hoses work best when placed 8 to 18 inches away from the foundation. Prior to connecting the soaker hose to the faucet, ensure that the faucet has a backflow preventer. The backflow preventer helps keep contaminated water from re-entering your household.
If it’s your first time running the soaker house, first remove the end cap and run water via the hose to remove any debris.
Soaker hoses work best at minimum pressure. In fact, most of them come with a pressure restrictor. If yours doesn’t have a restrictor (looks like a plastic disc), turn on the faucet so water comes out gently.
b. Drip irrigation is also another good option when you don’t have an irrigation system. It’s available at some garden centers, irrigation supply businesses, and large hardware stores.
Just like a soaker hose, ensure that yours has a backflow preventer on the faucet.
Drip watering also requires a drip watering filter. The filters help keep the nozzle openings from clogging. For connivance, add a timer.
Various drip watering timers are available that are battery-powered for setting irrigation. It can be your best investment when you’re not there to turn the water on, or when you forget to turn it off and run up your water bill.
Faucet timers are also available. However, unlike drip irrigation timers, it only turns the water off. It won’t help when it comes to turning the water on.
To summarize, before creating a foundation watering schedule, here are the factors to consider:
- What will I be watering my foundation with? Will it be a soaker hose, a garden hose, or a drip irrigation system?
- What season are we currently in?
- Does any of my foundation get more sun or shade than others?
- What type of soil do I have? (In Texas, it’s expansive clay soils.)
A home’s foundation is as essential as it sounds. Without a proper foundation, a myriad of structural issues can plague your home. To keep your foundation solid and strong, it’s important to irrigate it. This is especially true in areas like Texas that have poor soil conditions.