From Flood To “Flash Drought”
Houston experienced record amounts of rainfall this Spring which created all kinds of problems for homeowners. Just ask those folks living without flooring and drywall since the Memorial Day storm and its flooding.
Since then temperatures have spiked into the 100’s and rainfall has been sparse or non-existent. Enter the “flash drought“. The opposite of a flood and less well known, a flash drought may prove just as damaging to Houston homeowners and reveal the urgent need for foundation repair. This quickly expanding drought comes only two months after Texas had its rainiest month ever recorded, with devastating floods that killed dozens.
Springs’s wet soil conditions caused our clay soil to swell like dough rising in an oven, flexing concrete slabs upward. Flash forward just a few weeks and quite the opposite condition exists. Soil that once rose like dough now shrinks like a dry sponge, becomes riddled with air cracks, and gives less support.
Unsupported foundations flex downward and stresses increase, cracking slabs and revealing foundation damage that was previously masked by our rain-swollen soil.
As our foundations flex up and down existing cracks begin to propagate and become hinge points for exessive and progressive settling. This up and down movement and progressive settlement begins to tear drywall, crack tile and brick, move doors out of square and can get severe enough to begin negatively impacting frame, roofing and plumbing systems. (Maps courtesy of US Drought Monitor)
Just a few weeks of flash drought conditions can do enough damage to keep a foundation repair company busy for months. And cost homeowners thousands.
Brown, crunchy lawns criss-crossed with air cracks, soil pulling away from foundations – these are strong signs that your foundation is highly stressed. Everyday now I see new cracks in brickwork, gaping expansion joints, and windows and garage door frames separating from their structures. These are often associated with visible landscape distress from lack of moisture.
If your grass is brown and the ground around your home is cracked,
foundation damage is not far behind. – Brandon Hoge
Proper maintainence such as consistent foundation watering and care of trees and shrubs can reduce the risk, although imposed water restrictions may make such action difficult. The best advice to homeowners is to maintain moisture consistency around your home. Use a soaking system as recommended by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and heed warning signs of a possible foundation problem.
Act quickly to stop the progression of this problem!
You can save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.