A foundation is a lower portion of building structure that transfers its gravity loads to the earth. Foundations are generally broken into two categories: shallow foundations and deep foundations. A tall building must have a strong foundation if it is to stand for a long time.
To make a foundation, we normally dig a trench in the ground, digging deeper and deeper until we come to subsoil, which is more solid than the topsoil that is used to grow plants and crops. When the trench is deep enough, we fill it with any strong, hard material we can find. Sometimes we pour in concrete into the trench, which we strengthen even more by first putting long thin round pieces of steel into the trench. When the concrete dries, the steel acts like the bones in our body to tie the foundation together. We call this reinforced concrete.
Repairing and leveling a concrete slab foundation is an expensive and time-consuming task. During periods of extreme drought there is little to nothing the homeowner can do to maintain a constant moisture content of the soil around and under the home. The heat, evaporation, and water withdrawal by plants and trees is too great for a homeowner to battle with a garden hose. However, during periods of relatively mild weather a homeowner can maintain uniform soil moisture around his or her home. Here are 5 helpful and free tips for home foundations in Texas that can help limit or prevent damage.
1) Keep the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level. The soils present throughout Texas have a tremendous capacity to absorb (and lose) water. This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab which is resting on top of the soil. Keeping the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level with seepage water hoses will help reduce the chances of needing house leveling in the future.
2) Keep a log of any minor cracks inside or outside your home. Write down the location and length of any cracks and remeasure them several times a year.
3) Install root barricades when a large tree is too close to your home foundation. Or remove the tree.