Houston is flat and gets hurricanes. This has been a recipe for epic flooding over the years. Here’s what you need to know about how floods damage foundations and some tips to keep you on solid ground.
Foundations and Texas Clay
Texas soil usually contains large amounts of clay, which can hold large amounts of moisture. So, the clay-based soil expands when it becomes saturated and can press against foundations enough to crack them.
Foundations and Wall Cracks
Stresses from the ground and foundation can be transferred to attached concrete walls. Under normal weather conditions, these walls can develop thin cracks. During a flood, however, the weight from the water and increased stresses of ground shift can accelerate these thin cracks into major problems. Keep an eye on above-ground walls connected to your foundation.
Holes Under Foundations
Flooding can lead to large holes underneath homes. Contractors build homes on compacted clay, but flood waters can compromise the clay and surrounding soil, resulting in a recess under the foundation. Without support, the foundation will eventually fail and so must be filled by professionals beforehand.
Drainage and Foundations
Drainage is a big consideration when taking preventative measures against foundation damage. Make sure gutters and landscaping cause average precipitation to flow away from your home. This measure will minimize potential water damage to the foundation, in normal weather patterns or flood events.
If cracks in the foundation already exist, flooding will further destabiilize the structure. Small cracks become large cracks that increase water flow and increasingly erode the concrete. If cracks get too large they cannot be repaired by traditional techniques and may require more extensive repairs. Surrounding the structure’s perimeter with sandbags before a flood may help minimize damage, but filling in existing minor cracks is the most effective technique because it deters further erosion.