Is the Summer Heat Messing with Your Foundation?

The hottest, driest, pretty much worst part of summer has officially arrived. The heat settling in and ticking away at triple digits here in Kansas City means a lot of things for your home. 

It’s easy to be the most concerned about your lawn, but the truth is, brown grass isn’t as big of a deal as what is happening just below the surface. 

When the weather gets hot and dry like this, the moisture begins to evaporate, not just out of the ground, but also out of substances like concrete and wood. 

HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY HOME? 

soil shrinkage can cause foundation issues in Kansas City

The heat and lack of moisture in the ground causes soil to shrink. Sometimes you can see it along the border of your home. The dirt will dry, harden, and separate from the foundation of your house. On the surface this may seem normal and be more of an eyesore than a legitimate issue. 

However, under your feet the constant heat is pulling moisture from deeper and deeper down. The drier the soil, the more it shrinks. That means, the soil that was once supporting the foundation of your home is no longer doing so. 

WHAT TYPE OF DAMAGE CAN THIS CAUSE?

The worst part of soil shrinkage and the steady decline of moisture is that it doesn’t happen evenly. There are several factors, such as the amount of sun and the grading of the home’s lot, that impact how quickly moisture is evaporated from the ground. 

Very rarely is a lot graded to drain toward a home – that’s how basements flood. For most people, the yard is sloped to drain moisture away from the home. Which causes the soil closest to your home to dry first and lower portions of the yard where the water drains to dry last. 

When the soil around and under the foundation is dry, your home is no longer supported. It then starts to sink in search of support. Because the ground doesn’t dry evenly, that sinkage doesn’t happen evenly. Corners and sides of your home will sink faster than others leaving your home uneven and potentially facing severe foundation issues. 

HOW DO I ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?

Consider keeping your lawn well-watered. This time of year, that can be hard especially with temperatures working against you. It can also be a bit of a chore without a sprinkler system, but preventing the soil surrounding your home from growing too dry is a great first step. 

Even with this precautionary measure, it is extremely important to keep an eye on your home’s foundation. As we discussed, the ground does not dry evenly. Unfortunately, even the precautionary work of watering the soil may not keep parts of your soil from drying out too much over time. 

Regularly look at the cement at the base of your home. Look for cracks in the cement, unusual lifts in your grass, and any issues with your patios or driveway. These can all indicate a bigger problem under the surface. 

Here at KC Waterproofing, we’re used to the heat and the types of homes built in this area. That makes us uniquely equipped to help you solve your toughest challenges with your foundation.

It may feel overwhelming, but our team can help. If you have any concerns, schedule a consultation with a member of our team here.

And in the meantime, do your best to stay cool!