Maintaining Your Home Foundation in the Texas Heat

As the weather becomes dry and extremely hot, that soil will contract, causing your house to shift

We’re expecting another hot day in North Texas today. While you might be prepared for the heat, is your home ready?

After living in her North Texas home for nearly a decade, Candace Harris started noticing cracks. 

"Cracks in our floors, cracks in our walls," she said. "Our driveway is in four pieces it’s buckling.

Harris also saw nail pops, sticking doors and other sudden changes she couldn't explain, problems that were new to Harris, but very familiar to foundation expert Greg Cole of Perma-Pier. 

"You could almost get a dime in these holes. It’s showing signs of foundation issues and this is something that needs to be looked at," said Cole. 

Cole said about two thirds of the homes in North Texas are sitting on Houston Black Clay, an expansive soil.

As the weather becomes dry and extremely hot, that soil will contract, causing your house to shift.

"If it starts to dry up and a house has differential movement, it starts to show and cracks will reappear, doors will stick, doors will swing, windows will separate," he explained.

The foundation problems don’t discriminate.

"Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Rowlett, Carrollton, all over the Metroplex. They’re moving from other parts of the country that don’t have these issues so it’s scary. It’s frightening," said Cole.

Some homes are more severe than others. But he said there are steps you can take now to prevent your home from ending up like Harris'.

"If you start seeing signs of the dirt separating from the foundation or creating crest that means it’s too dry and that means you need to start a watering program," he said.

You can hydrate your soil with a sprinkler system or soaker hose three times a week for about 30 minutes.

But be careful not to add too much water to your foundation. It should be slightly damp, and not soaking wet.

Cole said draining water away from the home is also key to keeping a healthy foundation. You’ll also want to make sure you have proper grading, which is the slope that’s needed around your foundation.

"Negative grade away from the house. Make sure the water is not grading directing up against the slab," said Cole.

Before you even close on a home, he believes consumers should go beyond the house inspection and hire a foundation inspector.

It’s something Harris wishes she’d known before moving 10 years ago.

"It is going to hit us hard. This is a huge expense for us. We are middle income people, just trying to get by like everybody else, pay our taxes like everybody else, and now we have to deal with all of this," Harris said.

Between permits, engineering, plumbing and labor, Harris’ foundation repairs came out about $6,500.

But based on the severity and size of the home, repairs can cost as much as $150,000.

Harris said she thankful that she brought the Perma-Pier crew in when she did because it could have gotten even worse over time.

For more foundation tips, click here.

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