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.

Call 817-576-1973 or email stephanie@tecdfw.com to get on the list.




7 replies
  1. Jay says:

    Thanks for talking about the moisture levels and how they can change things. I am not sure if we do or not, but I did find some leaks in our basement that I suspect are due to foundation cracks. Do you have any advice on how to determine if it is in fact the foundation that needs the repair? Thanks!

    • Kristina says:

      Hello Jay, thanks for reading! If you have a basement, I’m guessing you don’t live in Dallas – Fort Worth (since they aren’t very common here). If you are noticing cracks in the basement walls, it is best to consult a Licensed Professional Engineer. They will do a full evaluation of your home, foundation, and surrounding soil to determine if you have some settling issues. In the meanwhile, make sure that no water is accumulating next to your house. Keep me informed, I am curious to see what the engineer says. Thanks again.

  2. Taylor Anderson says:

    It’s intersting that foundation problems are typically caused by shifting soil caused by heavy rainfall. My home was built in 1950, so I’ve been wanting to get the foundation checked out. What are some important qualities I should look for in a foundation repair service.

    • Kristina says:

      Hello, thank you for reaching out. We always recommend that you call a Licensed Professional Engineer before referring to a foundation repair company. If the engineer recommends foundation repair, ask him/her if there are any foundation repair companies that they are comfortable recommending.

  3. Sariah Meagle says:

    My dad found cracks in our basement while he was cleaning it last night. It was mentioned here that there are seasonal moisture fluctuations that should be considered. Furthermore, it’s advisable to hire professionals for quality foundation repair.

  4. Franklin White says:

    I like how you advised people to get their foundation fixed as soon as possible. I have never looked at my home’s foundation before. I am afraid that it might be damaged or weak, so I’ll call someone to come look at it this weekend.


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