Cincinnati isn't only facing a drought in wins by our sports teams!  The weather patterns have created a significant drought from lack of rain.  All you have to do is drive around and look at the brown yards and you know that all our trees and plants are in trouble.

For those of you who are watering and giving your vegetation 1" of water a week, you can expect to still have your trees, grass and plants next year.  For those of you who haven't, there is at least one place you need to start watering NOW!  Your foundation could be in trouble.

Who's to blame?  It's not who, it's what!  Clay soils are the culprit.  Most homes in the Cincinnati are built on clay soil.  Clay is an unique material to build on, because it is constantly expanding and contracting.  Along with the clay, your home is constantly expanding or contracting as well. As this happens, pressure is being put on the foundation walls and slab, potentially causing shifts in concrete and plumbing.  Common problems are water main breaks or sewer line cracks.

What are the warning signs that you have a problem at your house?Soil cracks

  • - Cracks in brick
  • - Sticking doors
  • - Sticking windows
  • - Gaps in the trim boards on the exterior
  • - Sheetrock or plaster cracks
  • - Gaps between the foundation and the soil.

You want to prevent these from happening by having as little structural movement as possible.  One way to do that is to water your foundation when we have extremely dry right now!

How do you water a foundation?  The best way is to place a soaker hose around the foundation, about 12-18" from the walls.  Soaker hoses are best because they assure that water will go directly into the ground.  You'll want to turn them on for 15-20 mintutes every two or three days right now.  This will cause the clay soil to expand and press against your foundation consistently.

Don't place the soaker hose directly against the foundation, because there is almost assuredly a gap there right now.  That could result in water going into your basement through either new cracks or by putting too much pressure on the foundation.Foundation problems

Consider this work as part of everyday home maintenance.  Once we start to get consistent rain again, you probably will not need to continue the watering regime. However, keep an eye out for the gaps between the soil and foundation in the future.