In all the years we’ve been repairing foundations this is probably the most asked question. The advice varies greatly:
“You should water every day for 40 minutes.”
“Every other day for 30 minutes.”
“3 times a week.”
“4 times a week.”
“Use a drip line.”
“Use a soaker hose.”
“No, your sprinkler system is good enough.”
…and every combination of the above that you can imagine, plus others that are just plain wrong.
Now for the truth. Are you ready?
All of the above can be correct and wrong, for your house. Your house is different from mine. Your house is different from all other houses. Even if your house is the same floor plan as every other house on the block it is still different. How can that be? Maybe your neighbors don’t have a gutter system. The house across the street doesn’t have any trees. The house next to them has bushes all the way around the house. The one down the street added a covered porch and a pool. On down the street, the soil changes from Houston Black Clay to Austin Chalk. You get the idea.
If you have trees on the south side of your house and the ground slopes away from the structure that area needs more water than the north side that doesn’t have as many trees and the ground slopes slightly towards the house. How much more? It’s hard for us to say without performing a visual inspection. The good news is that there is a simple way to know for sure:
Ask your dirt.
No, seriously, get a soil moisture meter. They range in cost from around $10 to $100 and as with most things in life, simple is better. Read the directions then practice keeping the moisture in the safe zone on each side of your house in all kinds of weather. Especially when it’s hot.
There are, however, a few things to avoid:
- If you use a soaker hose do not place it against the foundation.
- It should be 12” to 18” away from the foundation.
- It’s tempting but do not over-water.
Remember, too much water is just as bad as too little.
It’s all about balance.
If you find that you have too much moisture, and you aren’t adding any water to that particular area, you might need to look into some drainage options for your home.
Now get out there and do it right. And for those of you who could use a little professional help, we’ve got you covered with our drainage and landscaping services.