Landscapers and gardeners will know all about the dangers of a drought, but when it comes to your home, you have much more to worry about than cracks in your lawn and hydrostatic pressure. The very foundation of your property could be at risk when the soil around your home becomes too dry! Of course, certain small behavioral changes and a few technological tools can make all the difference, even in the climate of St. Cloud, MN.
Foundation Damage as a Result of Drought
Despite rarely making it above 80 degrees, and regularly dipping to 5 degrees, the climate in Minnesota can be very arid and dry. Around 5% of the state’s population is classed as living in “abnormally dry” areas, and severe droughts can be an annual occurrence in some areas.
The likelihood of a drought causing real problems for your foundation depends on the type of soil surrounding your home. Some soils react far more dramatically to drought than others. Clay-rich, expansive soils, for example, will not only shrink dramatically but can form huge, deep cracks that can seriously undermine foundations.
Thankfully, the soil in and around St. Cloud tends to be a mix of sand and loam, which is far less likely to form very large cracks than clay-rich soils. Nonetheless, sandy loam reacts to drought and subsequent flooding in many ways, and these reactions can cause different problems! For example, settlement, which happens when chunks of a foundation fall into large cracks in very dry earth, is less likely. Of course, the extreme saturation that follows a drought can make sandy loam very unstable and lead to sinkage or even slipping in the foundations of a home.
Protecting Your Home During a Minnesota Drought
As moderate to severe droughts are relatively common in Minnesota, most homes will have some measures in place to ward off foundational damage, but there are always extra steps you can take. Here are several things you can do to protect your home from the fall out of drought and dry soil.
Clean Out Your Drains Before It Rains
Clearing your interior and exterior drains of blockages and debris before the drought breaks is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to protect your home. When a drought does break, there is often excess run-off because the soil has hardened too much to allow quick absorption. By making sure your drains are in good shape, you can ensure they will effectively funnel water away from your home.
Install an Efficient Sprinkler System
Focus your sprinkler system on keeping the soil around the perimeter of your home to ensure the soil closest to your foundation stays in good shape when summer rolls around. Though a severe drought will likely lead to bans or restrictions, efficient sprinklers can keep the situation under control up until that point.
Make Use of Sub-Surface Drainage Systems
When your house is built on sandy loam, cracks are less of an issue than saturation when a drought finally lifts. When the ground hardens during a drought it loses its ability to quickly absorb water, and so the run-off is more likely to end up in your home’s foundation or basement. Sub-surface drainage systems will remove any water that does find its way under your home.
Invest in a Drywell
A dry well is not only good for your home; it can be great for your lawn as well. By directing rainwater and run-off away from your home when the drought breaks, they can feed your lawn steadily or be directed to run the excess into a nearby sewer system. All that matters is that the soil under your home does not become excessively saturated, or the instabilities caused by the drought could be exacerbated!
Nothing Beats the Professional Touch
If you are unsure about the history of your property, you don’t know what kind of soil you have, or you want to find out how you can best protect your foundation from the Minnesota weather, a professional opinion is never a bad idea. Contacting a local contractor for a free inspection and personalized quote for suggested improvements will give you an idea of what needs to be done. The professionals at Innovative
Basement Authority will also be able to look out for damage left by previous droughts or floods and can advise you as to how to manage any cracks or issues effectively.
Don’t let drought get you down – stay ahead of the game and keep your property afloat!