The dry summer heat and the humid spring air can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior. Hot weather can cause foundation cracks, which is why it is so important to know how to prevent them in the first place. When you take care to protect your house from these threats, however, you can still enjoy an expansive porch all year long. Amendable soil and a durable foundation are critical components of any home’s structural integrity. In addition to selecting the property with good soil for a foundation, there are additional steps you can take to help mitigate surface-level moisture and humidity fluctuations that can lead to poor stability, water damage, and other issues in extreme weather conditions.
What is a Foundation Crack?
A foundation crack is a fissure (or crack) in a building’s foundation, generally caused by shifting soil and poor construction. Foundation cracks are not limited to those found in exterior walls but can also be found in the basement or even inside the walls of the home.
With proper soil types and careful construction practices, foundation cracks are preventable; however, soil conditions and weather can cause foundation cracks to form. In addition to soil conditions, the weather directly impacts foundation health. Hot weather, especially, can cause a foundation to crack when external pressure (such as the weight of a porch or patio) combined with moisture and heat cause the ground to shift and separate.
Hot Weather and Foundation Cracks
One of the leading causes of foundation cracks during hot weather is expansive soil, which is common when the ground is dry. Expansive soil is a condition where once exposed to water, it expands in volume and pressure, causing damage to nearby structures. For example, when rainwater and humidity penetrate the ground, the soil surrounding a foundation will, to a degree, swell. The change in pressure can cause the foundation to crack and shift, leading to structural problems and water intrusion inside the building.
Tips to Help Protect Your Home From Hot-Weather Cracking
If you’re experiencing foundation cracks caused by hot weather, ensure that you have proper drainage outside your home. To keep the soil around your foundation from expanding, ensure good drainage around your house. This will help keep the ground surrounding your home from getting too moist.
There are a few simple things you can do to help with this.
- Ensure that your gutters are clean so they’re able to divert water away from your house properly.
- Ensure your downspouts are positioned to direct water away from the foundation of your house.
Repairing Foundation Cracks During Hot Weather
If you spot a crack in your foundation, you can take steps to help keep it from getting worse. If you see a crack forming, apply tar paper or a paint scraper to help prevent water from getting in. However, if the crack is already there, don’t ignore it! If you see a foundation crack forming, taking prompt action is essential.
The longer the crack goes without fixing, the more likely it worsens. Cracks in your foundation mean a more extensive problem below ground level. To properly repair a foundation crack, it’s best to contact a professional foundation repair service.
If your home already has cracks in the foundation or you notice a crack in progress, some preventive measures can help.
- You can help prevent foundation cracks by keeping your soil moist in the summer. While you want to ensure your soil is well-draining to avoid water intrusion, keeping the moisture content of your soil at an appropriate level can be tricky.
- If your soil is dried, you can use a sprinkler system to keep it moist. In addition, you may want to make sure your grading is level, as this can help with soil compression and moisture retention. Finally, soil analysis on your property can contribute to foundation cracks.
Get Inspections to Prevent Foundation Cracks
If you’re still worried about the possibility of foundation cracks, you can schedule an inspection with a foundation repair expert in your area. An inspector will be able to closely examine your foundation and provide you with information on how to avoid damaging it further. While you may be unable to avoid all foundation cracks, you can take steps to minimize their impact and repair them as soon as they happen.