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Old 08-20-2011, 11:18 PM   #1
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House shifting


I've heard about soaking the foundations of a house but do I still soak a pier and beam foundation?

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Old 08-20-2011, 11:21 PM   #2
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House shifting


I've heard about soaking the foundations of a house but do I still soak a pier and beam foundation?


Last edited by Lori Perkins; 08-20-2011 at 11:24 PM. Reason: New here. Copied original question.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:15 AM   #3
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House shifting


Why are you watering the foundation?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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House shifting


I am guessing you live in expansive clay country, perhaps Texas? But realistically, if you want an answer, you are going to have to describe your situation in detail, including the geometry of your building, type of soil, your location, and a detailed description of your problem.
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Old 08-21-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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I'm sorry. I guess I should have put more detail. I live in a Dallas suburb whis is in a drought right now. The soil is black dirt. Arghhhh!! The house is a single story, brick, 2200 sq. ft., built in 1966. The walls are cracking, the floor is shifting, and the tubs are pulling from the walls. They are really not that noticable, but I notice it. It was built on a pier and beam foundation. I know about putting soaker hoses around the foundation. I've been told it's ok to water the foundation but then I've also been told it's not. Is it true it will make the house sink. Now I know that doesn't mean my house will be swallowed completely but what can I do?

Thanks!!
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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House shifting


The best thing for houses in that type of soil is a relatively consistant moisture level. Are you allowed to water in the current drought conditions?
I know when we had a mild drought years ago, outside watering was prohibited. But the worst thing that happened was that the lawns turned brown and a few plants died.
If you're allowed to water, follow the guidelines for the soil conditions.
Does your homeowners insurance cover damage from this sort of condition?
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #7
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House shifting


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Why are you watering the foundation?
I am wondering, why they want to put a transmission on the house. Is it going to be running time trials at the Salt flats?
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:32 PM   #8
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You live in an area well known for expansive clay soils. This means that the physical volume of the soil changes with moisture conditions. During periods of drought, the soil shrinks. During wet periods, the soil expands. Unfortunately, pier and beam foundations are a very poor, although cheap, way to support houses on expansive clay soils. The problem is that the expansion tends to be quite variable, so one pier may rise or sink more than another pier, leading to a house well out of level.

There is an entire industry in Texas devoted to repairing out of level houses. None of the workable solutions are inexpensive. Solutions include installing helical piers next to the house and supporting the beams on the new, deep piers, installation of steel or concrete piles to support the house, mudjacking the house back to level, or simply jacking the house to level and installing shims on the piers.

As previously noted, one method commonly suggested is to keep the moisture content of the soil constant. This is easier said than done. You need to install moisture sensors in the soil, water the foundation slowly, and monitor the house for heave during wet periods. Most people lack the time and interest in continual monitoring to make this solution work. In any case, your soil is so dry now that watering it at this point is likely to cause heave, with no guarantee that the heave will be uniform. This could make the situation worse, especially if you don't install level sensors to monitor what is happening.

My recommendation is to discuss your situation with multiple contractors that specialize in leveling of pier and beam houses. Finding contractors should not be a problem, not in Dallas anyway. The trick is to carefully evaluate their proposals, and especially any guarantee they may offer. You can certainly water your foundation, but unless you have the commitment to maintaining a relatively constant moisture content in the soil, the results may be unpleasant.

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