Home Maintenance Tip: Water Your Foundation To Avoid Costly Repairs

Home Maintenance Tip: Water Your Foundation To Avoid Costly Repairs

Making sure the soil around a home’s foundation is a consistent moisture all year long is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to maintain it and prevent foundation issues from developing.  When soil gets wet, it expands and swells, and as it dries it contracts. As wet and dry weather conditions cycle throughout the year, the soil will expand and contract, and structures sitting on top of the soil (like a house) will move with it.

This is especially true in Houston because our Texas soil is very expansive and we go through cycles of extreme rain and extreme heat.  A soaker hose around the foundation perimeter will help ensure the soil moisture remains consistent so that soil expansion and movement is limited.

If you’re buying new construction from a big builder in the suburbs, a lot of them will include irrigation systems in their builds that include a foundation soaker line as part of the system. If you have to install your own, soaker hoses are relatively cheap, about $25-40 for 50-100 feet, and you can get them on Amazon* or any home improvement store. We recommend getting a timer, too, so you can set it and forget it.  

When installing a soaker hose for the foundation, you want to make sure it’s the appropriate distance from the slab (about 12” - 20”).  If it’s right up against the slab it could cause adverse issues, and if it’s too far away it won’t perform its intended purpose. Burying the soak hose about 2” - 8” deep into the ground is also a good idea. Not only will it probably look better, but a substantial amount of water is lost to evaporation when the line is on top of the ground (I’ve heard between 20%-50%). So burying the line will help prevent this, helping to conserve water.

When it comes to home maintenance, simple things done routinely can help prevent major issues down the road.  Maintaining proper and consistent moisture levels in the soil around your foundation is one example of an easy task that can help keep your foundation in good shape over the long run.

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