Meteorologists at the National Weather Service are reporting the driest six-month span in southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina in over eight years. The lack of rainfall in these areas has adverse effects on the communities in terms of temperature, soil conditions, and threats of wildfire. For the spring season, 12.5% of North Carolina is in Severe Drought and 25.7% of South Carolina is in Moderate Drought.
These conditions deplete soil’s moisture, causing an increase in temperatures across the region and putting the local agriculture and integrity of homes and other structures at risk. Tar Heel Basement Systems, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has seen a drastic decrease in waterproofing needs since last year. However, as the lack of rainfall continues, the abnormally dry conditions put your foundation at risk.
“Long periods of drought will cause the soil to shrink and create settlement issues,” said Tar Heel Basement Systems General Manager James Teixeira. “Sticking doors and windows, drywall cracks, and uneven floors are all possible signs the home is having vertical settlement issues.”
Drought Causes Concrete Problems
Tar Heel has additionally seen an increase in concrete sinking issues around the area. Dry conditions cause the soil around the home to shrink up. Over time, the space between your concrete and soil grows, so the concrete slowly falls into the gap. Sinking and uneven concrete can create tripping hazards around the home, especially as families spend more time outside for summer activities.
“Unlevel concrete around the home is a common concern,” said Teixeira. “Sometimes you can catch it before it becomes an issue. Voids under concrete will make a hollow sound. You can use a 4-foot level or rubber mallet to see if the concrete is making a different sound in certain areas.”
Unprepared for Soil Washout and Hydrostatic Pressure
The dangers of extremely dry conditions are not always immediate or noticeable. When the rain eventually comes, the soil is unprepared and will not be able to handle large amounts of moisture. As moisture permeates the dry soil, it may erode, rapidly expand, and be washed away. This process (known as soil washout) can cause massive flooding that can get into homes and other structures. Soil washout may also cause foundation settlement. The threat of an above-normal hurricane season could be detrimental in areas that have been experiencing drought, especially in the southeast.
Heavy precipitation can also put hydrostatic pressure on the walls of your home. As groundwater drains below the soil, it exerts more and more pressure. Eventually, this force pushes the water and deep soil up against the walls of your foundation. Long-term hydrostatic pressure can cause foundation walls to crack and bow inward if not properly treated.
“Hydrostatic pressure becomes a big problem when homeowners don’t ensure that roof water is taken 15 feet away from the home by extending downspouts. Allowing water to collect and pool right next to the foundation is a recipe for disaster,” said Teixeira.
Tar Heel Basement Systems Can Help You During a Drought
Identifying and acting on issues now could save you time and money over time. As a homeowner, one of the most valuable things you can do is continuously check the U.S. Drought Monitor to stay updated on dry weather conditions.
At Tar Heel, we have solutions designed to defend against the negative effects of drought conditions. Additionally, if you had issues with flooding before the drought, you may want to have an expert inspect your home before the rain inevitably returns. If you do need a permanent solution, have it installed before the rain arrives and before waterproofing needs are back in high demand.
Whether you are experiencing negative side effects of the drought or you are preparing for an aggressive hurricane season, the experts at Tar Heel Basement Systems are here to help you with any foundation, concrete, or waterproofing concerns you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our various foundation solutions!