Houses are on the move in East Texas. The lack of rain is causing foundations to shift, creating cracks in walls and floors. A local foundation repair shop says the number of calls for inspections has nearly doubled in the last six weeks. Olshan Foundation Repair says the soil in East Texas is made of many types of clay. When it rains, clay expands, but without water it does the exact opposite.
"Right now in Longview and Tyler being 15 to 16 inches below in rainfall, a lot of these soils are contracting and shrinking and dropping, and the foundations are dropping with it," said David Zieschang, General Manager of Olshan Foundation Repair. Zieschang says your walls and floors are not able to move with the foundation. Instead, they will just crack.
"Some people will actually see it come up through the tile,and they may see it go through the actual grout line," said Zieschang. Cracks in your house are not the only sign that you may have a foundation problem.
"Go along the windows and doorways and look for separation between the window pane and the brick and then a long the windows at the top and the bottom," said Zieschang. If you notice these problems the best thing to do is call an expert, but keeping your foundation watered, will help prevent the cracks from forming in the first place. Zieschang suggests putting a soaker hose around your house and turn it on for about an hour every other day. Right now, watering may not be enough to stop your foundation from moving.
"Can they totally stop it, probably not," said Zieschang. "It takes a lot of water especially when your far below in rainfall as we are right now." Even so, the next time you water your plants, think about watering your foundation as well. If you're unsure whether you have a foundation problem, Olshan suggests you call an expert to come out and look at your house.