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SLAB MAINTENANCE TIPS
The climate is such that these clay soils shrink when dry and swell when wet, resulting in up and down movement of the house. If this occurs unevenly (one area of the soil under the house gets more water or dries out faster), the house may become twisted, strained and damaged. Foundation maintenance, in general, consists of one major concept: The moisture in the soil under the house and around the house should be as uniform as possible at all times. Some measures to help accomplish this are:
→ Install good ground cover. This will prevent excessive moisture from seeping deep into the soil, causing problems to the foundation structure. This will also prevent erosion of the soil. Good ground cover also prevents excessive "drying out" of the soil through evaporation & will help maintain a more constant uniform moisture level in the soil beneath.
→ Water the soil around the house during dry periods just enough to keep the grass green. More watering is needed in areas with more abundant shrubbery, plants, and trees. The south and west sides of the house are more exposed to the sun, and may need more watering to offset rapid evaporation.
→ NEVER water too close to the foundation. Stay about 18 inches away with the water.
→ NEVER pour water into the cracks of the ground. These cracks usually go a few feet deep, and the water will reach soil that is normally undisturbed by concentrated amounts of moisture. Depending upon the shrink/ swell potential of the soil, the soil may upheave, or it may consolidate and lose volume; either way, this will undermine the foundation and cause problems.
→ NEVER place sand, sandy loam, or rocks around the foundation. They are very porous, and allow water to pass quickly to the soil below, where the sun and wind cannot dry it out. Clay soils are non‐porous, and are recommended for proper water drainage away from the foundation.
→ NEVER allow water to pond around the foundation. If water stands for very long, it will seep under the foundation, causing problems.
→ Keep soil sloped away from the foundation to prevent ponding of water. Standing water next to a home is a major cause of uneven stress on a foundation which can result in localized movement of the foundation. Long term this can result in the soil heaving or consolidating depending on the soil type resulting in uneven foundation movement.
→ Water the soil evenly around the foundation during the dry times of the year. Water enough to keep the soil from pulling away from the foundation or cracking. The lawn area of the home should also be watered. The soil should be watered enough to allow the water to soak into the soil several inches. If soaker hoses are used, place the hoses one to two feet from the foundation and use about one hour every other day. Do not over water the home around the foundation. Over-watering the foundation can cause the soil to heave or can cause the soil to lose its load bearing capacity and allow the house to sink.
→ Remove trees that are close to the foundation if the trees are not native trees. Root barriers may also be an acceptable alternative to removing trees.
→ Plant new trees at least 30 ‐ 40 feet away from the foundation. Do not plant fast growing trees such as mulberry, Arizona ash, silver leaf maple, etc.
→ Maintain the plumbing system & prevent leaks in showers and in the piping. If you have a pier & beam home, have the crawl space inspected periodically (annually) to make sure it is dry.