Heat-Related Foundation Problems in California
If you live in California, you know just how hot and sunny the summer weather can be. But you may not realize that lack of moisture in the ground and excessive heat can be disastrous for your home’s foundation.
The reason that extremely dry soil can lead to foundation issues is that this kind of soil fails to give your foundation the support that it needs. While concrete is a strong material, it needs to be supported from underneath in order to remain level, solid, and even. During very hot and dry conditions, much like we see during California summertime, the moisture in the soil evaporates and the soil shrinks as a result. This shrinkage causes the soil to pull away from the foundation, leading to both foundation sinking and shifting.
- Visible foundation settlement or movement
- Gaps around the home and foundation
- Cracks in the foundation
- Sloping or uneven floors in the home
- Cracks in the floor, walls, or ceiling
- Settling porches or stoops
Normally, this settlement occurs first in the southeast and southwest corners. This is because the corners are the areas where the most weight is concentrated on the foundation and because the south wall is exposed to more sun and wind than the other walls. These harsh conditions cause the soil on the south side of the structure to dry out first. You may want to check this area particularly carefully when examining your foundation.
If you do see these issues, you should call a foundation repair expert from Bay Area Underpinning right away. Do not wait until the issues are too severe and the foundation cannot be saved – invest in repairs immediately.
How to Protect Your Bay Area, CA Foundation from Heat
While it may be too late for preventative measures if you are seeing cracks and foundation movement, there are a few steps that you can take to prevent this from happening to your foundation.
One effective way to keep your foundation from developing issues is to water it. To do this, put a soaker hose along the south-facing wall and wrap it around the east and west ends of the home. Be sure to place the hose close to the foundation and consider using a timer to turn on the hose at night. This will result in a lower amount of evaporation and higher efficiency.
You might also consider using a sprinkler system during the summer months. Once again, check to make sure that the water is as close to the foundation as possible. Preventing foundation movement requires keeping the moisture content of the soil around your home as regular as possible.
One last tip is to check for trees or other large plants close to your foundation. The roots of these plants absorb water from the soil and can worsen soil shrinkage and foundation movement if planted near your home. Not to mention growing roots can push against the foundation and cause heaving or crack formation.
Now that you know the dangers that the hot weather can cause to your foundation, you can be better prepared the next time heat and drought strike.
In the meantime, be sure to call Bay Area Underpinning if you have any concerns about foundation settlement or crack formation. We use quality piering products from ECP (Earth Contact Products) to return your foundation to its original level and ensure that it is stabilized. We serve cities all over the Bay Area of California.