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Soaker hoses and stuff that Jim-ATS wouldn't understand.

Posted by X-guy on May 4th, 2000 07:17 AM
In reply to Plan Retailers, Attorneys, Architects, Bailing Wax and String... by Jim -ATS on May 4th, 2000 02:29 AM [Go to top of thread]

2 of 2 people found this post helpful

Advanced Foundation Repair Tip Expansive soils act like a sponge. As they absorb water, they
swell and as they lose water they shrink. Soils tend to dry out (and shrink) during the summer and
to absorb water (and swell) during the winter and spring.

As the soil under a house shrinks and swells with the seasons, the house and foundation will move
up and down. As long as the foundation movement is not great enough to damage the house
and/or foundation, it is not a problem. If the up and down movement of a foundation always returns
the foundation to its original level position, then damage to the house and foundation may appear
and disappear on a regular basis as the seasons change.

If a homeowner wishes to stop seasonal house and foundation damage, the
first course of action should be to follow a controlled watering program. By
keeping the moisture content of the soil under the foundation constant,
foundation movement can often be stopped. Advanced Foundation Repair has
written this to assist the homeowner in performing a simple foundation
preventive maintenance program.

The goal of a foundation watering program is to maintain a constant level of moisture in the soil under the house and
foundation. The best way to water a foundation is to install a buried foundation watering system. If you do not want to go to
the expense of installing a buried watering system, soaker hoses will provide you with many of the same benefits. The best
way to use a soaker hose is to bury a soaker hose three inches deep, one foot from the edge of your foundation. Placing the
hose a short distance from the foundation allows the water to soak into the soil evenly.

The hose should not be placed against the foundation. When soil has dried and cracked, water can
travel along the cracks for several feet in all directions. If the soil around your foundation is dried and
cracked, then water placed next to the foundation will run through the cracks and accumulate at the
bottom of the grade beam (the thick portion of the foundation that is under the exterior walls). In some
cases, an accumulation of water in the soil at the base of a foundation can cause the soil to loose some
of its load bearing capacity. If the soil loses enough load bearing capacity, the house will sink into the

Obviously, it is necessary to water more during hot, dry weather and less during cold, damp weather.
The amount of water required to keep a foundation stable during the summer can be surprisingly
large. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water, or almost 20 cubic feet of water,
from the soil each day. Shrubs and other plants can also remove large quantities of water. During
persistent hot dry weather, it may be necessary to water a foundation daily. Watering should supply
enough water to keep the moisture content in the soil under the foundation constant. If the amount of
water applied is only enough to keep the surface damp, the watering program will not work. Obviously, the homeowner is
the only one who can weight the benefits of controlling foundation movement versus the increased size of the water bill.

July, August and September are usually when cracks start appearing in the earth. Moisture should be added to the perimeter of
the foundation. The ideal way to maintain a constant moisture level is with a properly regulated automatic sprinkler system with
a rain gauge cut off. Good results can be accomplished by slowly increasing the moisture in the soil by placing a soaker hose 18
inches from the foundation and allowed to flow until water is observed standing on the ground. The expansion of the active soil
will now provide uniform support for the foundation. Watering should be repeated when drying crack are observed or when soil
is evidentially dry. Do not put a hose in big cracks and try to water the foundation. This can cause additional damage. During the
Texas summers, you will probably find that the south and east sides of the house will require more watering. The goal is
uniformity on all sides.

Mailbag: Soaker Hoses
Segment 5511

"Dear Michael, my house is starting to develop cracks, both inside and
outside. What's the best way to stop foundation problems?" -Rebecca T.,
Bemidji, Minnesota.

Using a soaker hose around the foundation of
your house may or may not be the right thing
for your home. It really depends on what part
of the country you live in and what type of
soil your foundation is built on.

Here is what to look for. Make sure that your
soil isn't dried and cracked and pulling away from the foundation. If it is,
you're going to need a soaker hose. If your soil is naturally moist, then
you probably don't need one. Place the soaker hose 12" to 18" away from
the foundation. You can buy these at your local hardware store or home
center for about $5.00 for 25 feet, depending on how many feet you need.
You can connect two together to surround the entire house. The trick is
to decide how long it's going to take each day to water the foundation
around your house. You don't want to water it so much so that the water
pools and gathers, because that can actually cause damage.

To test this, you need to turn the soaker hose
on and see how long it takes for the soil to
become moist up to the foundation. Once
you've determined that, then you can buy a
timer for about $10. Set the timer and forget
about it. The water seeps out through little
holes so that it evenly distributes it all around
the foundation. You can bury it in the ground and it'll still work just as

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