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Hydrate to Protect: Watering Your Foundation Soil

The often-neglected secret to a strong and secure foundation lies in the soil that cradles it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the crucial practice of watering the soil surrounding your foundation. By mastering this simple yet vital task, you’ll be taking a significant step toward protecting your home.

Soil drying out results from lack of rain, hot outdoor temperatures, and surrounding plant life. You can assist Mother Nature by replenishing water in the soil when needed. Do this by watering slowly, consistently, and uniformly around the perimeter of the home.

Some things to consider:

• In hot, dry summer months, water more often than in cooler winter months.
• The south and west sides of the home are more likely to experience hot sunny exposure and may require
more water than the shadier north and east sides.
• The gabled end of a house may need more water because it receives less runoff from the roof.
• If the neighbors’ lot drains toward your site, then that side of the house may require less watering.

Methods of applying water vary from the use of soaker hoses to automatic sprinkler systems. Automatic sprinklers are certainly more convenient, but soaker hoses can do just as good a job. During droughts soaker hoses may need to be used along with sprinkler systems.

How much water and when to water is the next consideration. Just setting the automatic control and forgetting it is probably not going to work. Perhaps the important thing to remember is that clay-based soils absorb water slowly and obtaining ideal moisture levels takes time. Applying a lot of water over a short period of time will often result in wasted runoff. Slow, regular watering periods are needed to allow moisture to penetrate deeper into the soil.

To keep soil moisture consistent, you’ll need to provide:

• About 1 to 2 inches of water each week in the summer
• 1 to 2 inches of water every two weeks in the spring and fall
• 1 to 2 inches of water per month in the winter

*Water until you’ve added 1/2 to 1 inch of water or until you see water starting to run off, whichever comes first.

In hot summers, automatic sprinklers running three times a week for 10 minutes per zone often meet these recommendations. On steep slopes, you might need to water more often but for shorter durations.

Keep in mind that you’ll water less in winter and more in summer. If you notice the soil shrinking, cracking, or pulling away from your foundation, it’s a sign that you need to water. With time, you’ll become better at judging when it’s time to water. Remember that slow, consistent, and uniform watering is the way to go.

When it comes to foundation maintenance, the act of watering the soil surrounding your home may seem unassuming, but its impact is profound. By nurturing the soil beneath your foundation, you’re not just preventing potential problems; you’re helping to protect the very base of your home.


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