Tilson Homes
Aug 19, 2022

Homeowner Maintenance Guide: Watering Your Foundation During Dry Conditions

Custom Homes, Home Maintenance

Maintaining consistent moisture content in the soil around your home's foundation is critical. The soils in Texas can be very expansive, meaning clays in the soil will expand when wet and shrink when they are dry. During wet and dry cycles, the ground will expand or contract, and your home moves up and down with the changing soil conditions. Like changing air filters, ensuring proper drainage around your slab, and cleaning out A/C condensate lines, ensuring proper moisture content around your slab is part of regular homeowner maintenance.

From time to time, drought conditions occur in one or many parts of Texas. As the soil around your slab becomes too dry, it can crack and pull away from your foundation. If not corrected, this can result in foundation movement and damage. Using a soaker hose is a simple and effective way to keep the moisture content of the soil consistent.

Materials You'll Need

If you're unfamiliar with soaker hoses, they are garden hoses with small holes or pores along their length. When turned on, water from the hose slowly seeps out of the pores and saturates the ground around it. This slow release of water into the ground around your foundation prevents cracking soil from damaging your home's foundation. Soaker hoses are available at most hardware or home improvement stores. When purchasing your hoses, make sure all of the hoses will release water at the same rate. Measure the perimeter of your home to determine the length of soaker hose you need. In addition to soaker hoses, you'll also need landscape pins to hold the hose in place, and we recommend a watering timer to prevent overwatering.

Proper Use of Soaker Hoses

Proper placement of your soaker hoses is key to preventing damage to your home's foundation.
  • The hose should be placed 12 to 18 inches from the perimeter of your home's foundation.
  • Run the hose in as straight of a line as possible. Make a smooth curve around corners and avoid crimping the hose. Use landscape pins to hold the hose in place.
  • There should only be one line of hose around the foundation. Crimp or pinch off any excess hose to prevent having more moisture in one area than another.

Soaker Hose Placement Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure consistent moisture content around your foundation and prevent damage, avoid these mistakes when placing your soaker hoses.

  • Do not place the soaker hose closer than 12 inches from your foundation.
  • Do not allow the soaker hose to lay down in loops.
  • Do not overlap the soaker hose.
  • Do not crimp the hose at the corners.
  • Do not coil up the extra hose without crimping it off.

How Long and How Often Should I Water?

Watering for a short time multiple times a week is better than one long watering. The gradual introduction of moisture is best. Start by watering three or four days per week for 30 to 45 minutes. The best time to water is during the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or evening. It's important not to overwater. You don't want the ground to be so wet that puddles form. The goal is to keep the moisture content of the soil as consistent as possible. Once you've been watering your foundation for a week or so, you can water for fewer days if conditions have improved. If the problems are not improving, you may need to increase the number of days or time per day that you water.

If you have any questions about watering your foundation during a drought, please reach out to our Customer Care team at 1-888-214-8921. We're always happy to help!

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