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A foundation for trouble

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 5:18pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 - 7:14pm

For most people, a home is the most expensive thing they’ll ever buy.

And one of the simplest things you can do for that home, can prevent thousands in repair bills. And all it takes is water.

If you came to East Texas from Dallas or Houston as I did, you know how soil can affect a home’s foundation.

We’re lucky here, but don’t let that fool you when the weather is this extreme.

Wayne Boyd is a home inspector and he says that when it comes to foundation damage, so far, things aren’t too bad.

“Not really that much more than normal,” he says. “You know, we’re lucky in East Texas versus Dallas, Houston those areas where you’ve got the black gumbo, as everybody calls it. Those places where the soil really expands and contracts with the conditions like the drought we’re in now, and those areas are really suffering now, I’m sure.”

But, we have probably two and a half more months of this heat to go before there is real relief.
And keeping the soil around your foundation moist is crucial.

“Soaker hoses are good, yeah,” Wayne agrees. “Try to keep that soil around the foundation fairly consistent. You don’t have to keep it like a swamp, just keep it fairly consistent.”

So what exactly do we look for? Is every crack a warning sign?

"There’s a fairly good crack in the mortar joint here in the brick<” he points out. “Now, if I was an inspector inspecting this house, I might would be a little concerned. So I’d go inside and see what’s going on on the interior walls, and see if there’s any evidence of settling in there too, and there’s not.”

So even if you are as cheap as I am, don’t hesitate to use a little water.

It’s a lot cheaper than foundation work.

Wayne told us the sandy soil in our area is ideal, and even local clay isn’t too bad.

But even here, a drought like this one can take a toll.

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