In the spring, when we start experiencing more precipitation, the soils begin to be over hydrated. This can contribute to inconsistencies in the clay’s bearing abilities. When over saturated, the soil tends to lose some of its integrity and potentially can become “mushy”. The effect of these circumstances can result in deflection, or settlement, in a foundation supported in these soils.
Under conditions as such, it is beneficial to address areas around a structure containing “poor drainage”. Gutters definitely help redirect roof runoff and reduce the amount of erosion normally experienced. A swell, generally most effective in directing surface runoff between two structures to a further away location, is a natural curvature in the yard’s grade to allow surface runoff to naturally drain. A French drain, is used under necessary circumstances where extreme volume of ground water is common. The drain consists of any size perforated pipe, placed in a trench at a depth greater than any surrounding foundation. This pipe is then wrapped in a filter cloth and submerged in gravel which will allow the pipe to “absorb” any local sub-surface ground water and divert it to a desired discharge point. Area drains, are used in situations where a swell can’t be placed, or small areas where surface runoff (or standing water) need be diverted to another location.
However, it is also known, that poor drainage situations, especially in our highly expansive soils, can contribute to soil expansion. Moderate amounts of moisture absorbed unevenly around a structure’s foundation, can create inconsistencies which potentially can result in areas of these compacted clays to expand at a greater rate than some of the other more dry areas. This expansion can contribute to foundation upheaval, or uplift.
It is not recommended to run soaker hoses during these more wet seasonal conditions.
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