The Drought and Home Foundations.

Well, our gumbo soil here in Houston is really starting to cause a lot of issues with many  home foundations.  The soil expands when wet, and contracts when dry. We are now so far behind on rainfall, that the soil is EXTREMELY dry, so it has really contracted.  I’m seeing the effects of this issue on my own home.  I have a section of my home that was added on sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s.  The original home was built in 1930.  The original home and the addition are both built on pier and beam foundations, which means that the home basically is built on blocks up off of the ground  The original part is stucco, so their is a “foundation” beam around the perimeter of the home that supports the exterior stucco.  This part of the home doesn’t move very much, but there is some movement that shows itself with doors that stick or don’t stick – depending upon the weather.  The newer section of the house does not have this perimeter foundation, so it flexes even more.  I came home from the office recently and had a nice new separation crack that ran from the top of the back door to the ceiling and all the way across the ceiling.  The also were new “tears” in the sheet-rock joints where the newer section of the home meets the older section.  The corner where the ceiling meets the wall looks like the ceiling move one way and the wall another – so their are diagonal “tears”.  I’m also seeing all of the doors in that section of the home are sticking one day, and not sticking another day. This means that the house is moving a lot.  The problem is – do I repair this or not?  My gut feeling is that if I fix it, then when the rains come again and the soil expands, then the same thing will happen in reverse!  I’ve had the same thing reported to me from neighbors and clients that they are also seeing the same movement in their homes.  Luckily, pier and beam homes are the easiest and cheapest type of foundations to repair.  Slabs are a completely different story. Let’s just say that I’m glad that I don’t own a home built on a slab!


About leehudman

I am a fifth generation native of the city of Houston, TX. I live in the eclectic East Montrose neighborhood. I have been a full time licensed Realtor for 27+ years, so I know the real estate business and I know this city! I specialize in Houston's popular inner-loop neighborhoods.
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One Response to The Drought and Home Foundations.

  1. Pingback: Property Wall Inspection « Craig's DIY Tips

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