With nature coming back to life, spring really is the most exciting time of the year. But in Houston, spring is also the rainiest season. While a little rain usually isn’t a problem, heavy rainfall and flooding can cause a lot of damage to a home. Besides causing different issues, such as foundation heave, cracks in the foundation and walls, and damp patches on walls, ceilings, and floors, which are usually followed by mold growth and wood rot, rainwater can also make existing problems worse.
If you’re looking for a short answer to this question, then yes, a French drain can definitely save your foundation and prevent future problems from occurring.
In the Greater Houston area, our soil is a mixture of different sediments, minerals, and varying amounts of organic and inorganic matter packed into clay-rich soil material. When a home is being built, the soil is excavated to make room for the foundation. This creates an empty “clay bowl”. Once the workers build the foundation and exterior walls, they use the soil that was initially removed to fill in the space around the edge of the foundation. The soil that is put back along the foundation is called backfill.
The foundation is the most critical component of a Houston home. If the foundation is compromised in some way, there could be severe consequences for the entire structure. One of the most serious consequences of foundation damage is wall bowing.
Knowing the difference between foundation settlement and sinking is critically important in order to avoid extensive structural damage that could cause all sorts of problems throughout your Houston home.
Although Houston and surrounding areas have four distinct seasons temperature-wise, there are only two seasons weather-wise: the wet season and the dry season. Since too much water can be as harmful to a foundation as not enough moisture, let’s take a look at the effects each season could have on your lawn and foundation and find out what you can do to protect your home.
The homes in Houston and surrounding locations are usually built on slab-on-grade or pier and beam foundations. While a slab-on-grade foundation is laid directly on compacted soil or fill material, a pier and beam foundation is built on top of a series of piers and beams to raise the home above the ground level and allow for a hollow area underneath, commonly referred to as crawlspace.
Also known as Vertisol, expansive soil contains specific types of minerals called smectites, which can absorb a lot of water and expand considerably. The soils containing large amounts of smectites can undergo a 30% volume change according to moisture and temperature variations. A classic example of smectite-rich soil is Houston Black, which can be found in Houston and neighboring cities, including Sugar Land, TX.
Homes are built to withstand different natural events, including high winds, flooding, and earthquakes. But over time, the weight of your home, along with the changes in soil moisture content, which are caused by temperature and precipitation variations, as well as extreme weather events, like heavy rainfall and flooding, can take a toll on your foundation.
The Woodlands is a great place to live. In fact, it was ranked the #1 Best City to Live in America as recently as March 2021. In addition, the ranking website Niche, trusted by people all over the U.S. to help them plan their big moves, gave it an A+ overall score by processing millions of reviews.