Understanding Seasonal Moisture Fluctuations
Foundation problems in Dallas – Fort Worth are often caused by shifting soils. Many homeowners notice that signs of foundation settling seem to come and go, depending on the season. The most common complaint is malfunctioning doors and windows. You’ve probably heard someone attribute the jamming to “the wood swelling from all the rain.” The reality is that in North Texas, swelling clay causes the more damage to homes.
The clay soil in Dallas – Fort Worth experiences expansion and contraction, depending on moisture levels. When it’s hot and dry outside, the clay soil shrinks. Adversely, clay has a tremendous capacity for retaining water. Heavy rainfall leads to swelling soil beneath our home’s foundation. To put foundation settling in a nutshell,
Your foundation becomes weak from the constant movement. Eventually, it cracks under the pressure – literally.
The Freeze (December-February)
During the winter, there is minimal rainfall and low, sometimes freezing, temperatures. The soil is relatively stable, leading some experts to believe winter is the best time for foundation repairs. Unfortunately, homeowners are reluctant to live in a construction zone during the holidays. Also, when the signs of foundation settling are less obvious, people tend to procrastinate on repairs. It is the classic, out of sight, out of mind scenario.
Spring Showers (March-May)
Many people plan home improvement projects during the spring. Often times, cracks are discovered during the process of replacing flooring or repairing damaged sheetrock. During this time, existing cracks may appear to grow as a result of swelling clay soil. Some experts suggest that spring is the best time to schedule foundation repairs, especially if you suspect that your foundation problems are worsening.
Dog Days of Summer (June-September)
You will notice that during June through September, high temperatures are accompanied by low levels of rainfall. Contracting soil creates gaps beneath your home’s foundation. As a result, you may see signs of foundation settling.
As mentioned earlier, the clay soil shrinks during these periods of intense heat. Foundation repair during these so-called “dog days of summer” may lift your home too much. However, a Licensed Professional Engineer takes seasonal fluctuations into consideration when making his calculations. Foundation companies offer free estimates but proceed with caution. Only a Licensed P.E can ensure work performed on your home is necessary and correct.
“Fall” in Texas (October-November)
Summer seems to last half of the year in Texas, so there isn’t much of a fall season. Even so, fall is a great time to take a good look at your home’s foundation. Scheduling foundation repairs during this season will leave time to put the house back together before the holidays.
When is the BEST time to fix your foundation?
The answer is NOW! If you suspect that your home has foundation concerns, there’s no time like the present to call a Licensed Professional Engineer for a foundation inspection. He/she will present an 8-10 page Engineer’s Report highlighting issues and recommending repairs – if needed. If you do need piers, the engineer will tell you how many, what kind, and pinpoint the ideal placement.
Stop putting it off, schedule your foundation inspection today.
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