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North Carolina Drought & Foundation Repair 

DryPro can help you fight back against dry soil around your home. Read more on how the drought in North Carolina can damage foundations, crawl spaces & basements.

When thinking about droughts, North Carolina usually doesn’t come to mind. A state that typically experiences all four seasons, prolonged dry conditions throughout the state may be welcomed as the day-to-day experience is reliably sunny weather. 

However,  dry weather can turn into drought, and cause water shortages, NC wildfires, and severe foundation damage. 

Though not an obvious threat, drought conditions can be detrimental to your foundation, crawl space, or basement. Together, let’s learn more about the effects of dry soil on a home and how you can combat it with drought foundation repair. 

What Happens to Soil During A Drought? 

Cecil soil is the state soil of North Carolina. It’s primarily found in the piedmont and mountainous regions of the state including the city of Charlotte. It’s characterized by its red color, positive drainage qualities, and clay-like consistency. It yields excellent crops, but when it comes to your home’s foundation, it can be cause for concern. 

Since Cecil is a clay soil, it’s also known as expansive soil. Expansive soils are especially sensitive to water, as they expand, or get larger when it rains or is excessively humid. When the soil expands, it exerts hydrostatic pressure, which is a force that can cause your basement walls to press inward, or your concrete foundation to push upward. As the moisture levels in soil decrease, like during a drought, expansive soils shrink. 

Expansive Soil showing shrinkage cracks

Why is Dry Soil Bad For Your Foundation? 

Drought is a silent killer not only for plants and wildlife, but for your home’s structure, too. When the soil beneath your Charlotte home dries out from drought, the soil shrinkage will cause your foundation to settle at an accelerated rate. This typically does not occur consistently around your home, so your house may likely experience differential settlement. 

Differential settlement is when one part of a house settles faster than the rest. Keep your eyes peeled for these common problem signs outside of your home as well: 

  • Cracks in concrete steps 
  • Large foundation cracks or fissures on the exterior of your home 
  • Uneven concrete patios, driveways, or garage floors 
  • Cracks in the concrete pathways and driveway 
  • Tilting and leaning chimneys 
  • Cracks down the side of your chimney 

Though issues on the exterior are indicators of drought damage, we cannot always judge a house by its curb appeal. Foundation, crawl space, or basement damage can also be spotted from the interior of your home, too. Inspect your living area for the signs of drought foundation damage below:   

What Can Happen to Homes After A Drought? 

Soil Erosion 

During a drought, any soil, expansive or not, is also vulnerable to heightened erosion due to wind and poor drainage. Without proper moisture conditioning, the soil beneath and around your home and concrete will erode, causing air pockets or exposing the previously below-ground structures. When this happens, it leaves your home’s foundation more vulnerable to damage when the drought is over, since the soil previously protecting and surrounding your home is no longer there. 

Underground air pockets could fill with water 

Since drought can cause air pockets beneath the important structures of your home, these areas are especially vulnerable to being filled with water during the first rain after a drought. This can leave your crawl space or basement susceptible to leakage and an increased rate of hydrostatic pressure. 

Reduce the Effects of Drought On Your Foundation 

Be Very Attentive to Your Lawn and Landscaping 

Making sure that your lawn is in the best shape possible before a predicted drought can give your foundation a better chance. This can include liberally mulching and fertilizing your yard, replacing nitrogen fertilizer with potassium-based fertilizer, and pruning the plants in your yard. By preparing your yard to retain moisture during a drought, you can aid in preventing the shrinking and drying of the soil. While it is hard to predict a drought yourself, there are many resources that you can use to predict and track droughts, like local news stations or drought.gov

Water Your Lawn at Night When There’s Less Evaporation 

Since the dry soil isn’t as conditioned to retain water during a drought, and the sun is still beating down on your lawn, watering it during the day may not aid any growth. For best results of your occasional watering during a drought, water at night. 

Water On Slope Where Runoff Typically Occurs 

For a healthy foundation, your yard should be positively graded to ensure water doesn’t collect around your home during rain. During a drought, your lawn can lose its positive grading condition, and when the first rain hits after a drought, it can collect around your weakened foundation, and potentially cause leaks and mold. To help your lawn stay conditioned for positive water grading, you should water on the slope where you would normally have runoff. This includes around your concrete driveway. 

Clean Out Drains And Gutters 

To prepare for the end of the drought, you’ll want to make sure your gutters and exterior water drains are clear of debris. This ensures that water is safely exported from around your home to elsewhere. 

Install Drainage Systems Your Yard If It Suffers From Negative Grading 

Drywells work with the existing terrain of your yard to collect excess water, and safely move away. As water flows on the surface of a yard toward your home, it collects in basins on the perimeter of your home. The basins are connected to pipes that transfer water to a nearby sewer system. 

Foundation Piers  

Foundation piers, ranging from helical to push piers, are a permanent solution for advanced differential settlement in a home. Piers are hollow supports that are installed below your home to lift it to its upright position and support it where the soil cannot. Although an exceedingly high effort procedure for your foundation, it is a permanent solution that will improve your home’s structural stability and real estate appeal. 

Have Your Charlotte Foundation Inspected

It can be hard for homeowners to spot foundation problems on their own after a drought—or it may not be the first thing they consider checking on. Your neighbors at Dry Pro can help. We offer no-cost, comprehensive home inspections to get to the root of your foundation problems. Our solutions are long-term, meaning we do the job right the first time, so you can sleep peacefully in your structurally secure home. Set up your free inspection today

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