Jun 24, 2011 6:47 PM by Maddie Garrett

Drought Creates Major Problems for Foundations

Bricks breaking, sheet rock cracking and sticking doors are all signs that your home's foundation is shifting. But this year seems to be worse than normal for foundation repairs. The experts say the weather is mostly to blame, but there are ways to prevent costly foundation repairs.

Katherine Liebert noticed a small crack around her window just a few months ago.

"Within the last three to four weeks that gap has jumped to over an inch, and there's a crack running in the brick from one corner down almost to the ground," said Liebert.

Kevin Bell, with National Foundation Repair, said her foundation is settling unevenly, and the early drought is to blame.

"When these extended periods of no rain come into the picture we end up with uneven movement," said Bell.

Weather conditions aren't the only thing that can affect your foundation. The trees also play a major part, but the reason might surprise most homeowners.

"If you say the trees are the problem immediately we think of roots, and specifically the roots are less important than the fact that the tree is just dehydrating the soil," explained Bell.

Bell said as trees get bigger they soak up more water from the soil, creating uneven moisture in the ground around a home's foundation. Liebert knows now it's her big Water Oak in the backyard that has already damaged her home.

"Well I'm told they will dig up some of the brick work I laboriously laid. And they will dig underneath the house removing massive amounts of dirt and then they will rebuild the foundation in order to lift the house up back to it's proper location," she said.

But the experts say you can still save your foundation this summer by simply pruning nearby trees and watering your yard.

"Do it in an area where you think the demand for water is the greatest, that's always going to be near the oak tree, that's going to be on the end of the house where you have trees," said Bell.

Bell said the recent rains have also temporarily helped shifting homes in Acadiana. But homeowners will have to hope for more consistent rainfall to provide long term benefits.



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