What is Foundation Watering and How Does it Work?

What is Foundation Watering and How Does it Work?

Feb 28th 2024

If the summer is extra dry in your area, your home's foundation may be at risk. Your home's foundation is its anchor; keep it stable, upright, and secure over time despite constant exposure to the weather. When the expansive soil beneath your home shrinks or swells due to dry heat and moisture changes, it can result in foundation problems like cracks, uneven floors, and leaning foundation walls. Fortunately, by watering your foundation, you can avoid these issues and preserve the support structure of your home during extreme weather.

In some of the hottest states that experience sweltering summers, such as Texas, Florida, and Arizona, foundation watering can provide significant benefits as it can keep the moisture at a consistent level, minimizing soil shrinkage and protecting your home.

How does foundation watering work, and how do you water your foundation? Well, this guide will explain all you need to know about foundation watering to help you alleviate seasonal foundation damage.

What is Foundation Watering?

Foundation watering is a practice of applying water to the soil around the perimeter of the home's foundation to keep the soil moist consistently. Watering the soil in an even and controlled manner prevents significant changes in soil's moisture content during hot and dry weather that can cause foundation movement.

Foundation watering is not only about maintaining soil moisture but also about stopping soil expansion and shrinkage. Balancing moisture levels in the ground around the foundation is key to protecting your foundation's integrity.

Signs Your Foundation is Too Dry

It is crucial to recognize the signs of inadequate moisture and foundation problems. If you see any of the below signs near your home's foundation, it means your foundation requires proper hydration.

  • Noticeable cracks in the foundation
  • Cracks in walls, floors, or ceilings
  • Sticky doors and windows
  • Uneven home's foundation setting, causing sloppy or uneven floors
  • Soil pulling away or separating from the home's foundation

How Does Foundation Watering Work?

Foundation watering protects the foundation of the home, building, or other structures by maintaining soil moisture levels around the foundation. This is a strategic approach to keep the soil around the home moist in areas that experience hotter and drier weather.

Water is a cause of foundation problems, so proper foundation watering is imperative, especially in areas with expansive clay soils. Things go wrong when the soil around and beneath the foundation contains too much water or too little. When the soil around the foundation becomes too dry, it shrinks and causes structural issues, settling unevenly. Foundation watering prevents damage caused by soil shrinkage and expansion due to moisture changes.

Understand the Soil Type

Before we explain how to water your foundation correctly, it is important to understand the type of soil surrounding your property. Different soil types have different capacities to hold and expand water. So, you must know the soil type in your area to adjust the watering schedule accordingly.

Expansive Clay Soil

Expansive clay soil is one of the most problematic soils. This soil is prone to shrinking when it dries out and swelling when it absorbs excess water. This swelling and shrinking cycle puts a high stress on the foundation. If you are in an area with clay soil, you should water the foundation more frequently during dry hot periods. Water this soil every 2 to 3 days during dry weather. However, monitor the soil moisture level and adjust the water frequency.

Loam and Sandy Soil

Loam and sandy soils drain more quickly, and they need less frequent watering. In areas with these soils, you need to water less, like once a week, and ensure that the water absorbs deeply into the ground.

Related Post: - Gardening: Know Your Soil Type

When is the Best Time for Foundation Watering, and How Often Should You Water?

The foundation watering schedule can vary depending on the season and region. The most efficient time to water your foundation is during the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening. Watering this time reduces evaporation and ensures maximum absorption. Foundation watering is performed during summer and cold months.

Frequent watering should be the norm for consistent moisture levels during hot and dry summers. Water the foundation daily in peak summer for around 15-20 minutes. However, when the weather is close to drought level, it is best to extend the watering period to up to 45 minutes.

Dry spells can also happen in the cold season, so you should also water your foundation during winter. In winter, water the foundation when the sun is out. When watering a foundation, you need to consider two factors: lack of moisture due to infrequent rainfall and the water demand of vegetation in your yard. Remember, a single large tree can draw up to 150 gallons of water from the ground every day.

What is the Best Way to Water a Foundation?

When choosing the best foundation watering system, you have several options. When performing foundation watering, make sure to deliver enough water to keep the soil layer under your foundation constant. If all you are doing is keeping the surface damp, you are not getting the most out of your watering system.

The best ways to water a foundation include:

Soaker hoses: Soaker hoses are built with tiny pores or holes that allow water to slowly soak into the soil along their length. These hoses are placed around the foundation to provide consistent and deep watering. A soaker hose can maintain the moisture levels consistent all summer.

Drip irrigation systems: Drip irrigation is also the most efficient way to water your foundation and moisten the soil around it. This system delivers water directly and evenly to the soil through drip tubing at a controlled rate, reducing water wastage.

How to Set up a Foundation Watering System

A drip irrigation system is the easiest solution for foundation watering. The drip lines should be placed 12-18 inches from the foundation for effective results. You should never water the foundation directly. Water the sunny areas that receive direct sunlight more compared to shaded areas. If the soil around the drip lines becomes extra wet, reduce the watering period. It's worth remembering that the soil around your foundation should be moist, not overly saturated, or muddy.

Here's how to set up the system:

  • Place the hose or drip tubing around the entire perimeter of your home.
  • Use heavy-duty wire staples to keep the tubing in position.
  • Connect a timer to the faucet for a fully automated watering system.
  • Connect the hose to the timer and turn on the faucet.

The goal should be to maintain uniform soil moisture at a depth of 6-12 inches below the surface. Moreover, you should keep monitoring the moisture levels using a moisture meter. Adjust your foundation watering schedule according to moisture level.

Why Would You Have to Water a Home Foundation?

Watering your home's foundation, particularly in hot and dry weather, is important for several reasons. The primary reason to keep the soil around your foundation moist is that soil can dry out and shrink, causing an uneven foundation. Here is why foundation watering is important.

Prevents Cracking: When the soil around your home's foundation shrinks and swells, the foundation can move or settle, which leads to cracks in walls, ceilings, door frames, and floors. Foundation watering maintains soil moisture levels and minimizes the risk of costly repairs.

Saves Money: Foundation repairs are expensive and frustrating. However, you can save on those repair costs by watering your foundation regularly.

Preserve Home Structure: When your home's foundation remains intact and stable, your entire home stays structurally sound. Maintaining consistent soil moisture in soil reduces the chances of foundation problems and preserves the building's structural integrity.

Remember that using a drip irrigation is always preferable to water your foundation so that the soil does not get excessively wet, which can cause foundation problems.

Buy the Best Foundation Watering Kit from Dripworks and Secure Your Foundation

Looking for the most efficient and cost-effective foundation watering system to maintain your foundation? Shop the Foundation Watering Kit from DripWorks, containing all the parts you need to set up the watering system and protect your property against foundation damage.

DripWorks Foundation Watering Kit is designed to apply consistent moisture to your foundation during dry summer heat. As we enter hotter times, getting your hands on a high-quality foundation watering system is important to avoid costly foundation repairs. Our watering kit comes with 200' of emitter tubing, a Bluetooth timer, fittings, a PSI regulator, and all the essential parts. The drip tubing can water up to a 50' x 50' foundation or 2,500 square foot home.

For any queries and guidance, you can reach out to our friendly team at 1-800-522-3747 Mon-Fri.