So it didn’t rain for like two months straight, and then it seemed to rain every day for two weeks straight. When someone made up that “when it rains it pours” saying were they from Texas? Does this mean the 2022 Texas drought is over?! Does this mean I don’t have to worry about my foundation anymore?
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been helping homeowners through their foundation concerns since 1985. We’ve seen our fair share of drastic weather conditions from extreme drought to monsoon rains over the last 35+ years. We can give you the lowdown on this year’s drought and the recent rain’s effect on your foundation.
This article will review the current and recent past drought conditions and discuss what you could be seeing in your home and foundation condition at the moment. We will also discuss what to look for going forward through the rest of the year and beyond.
Have the Recent Rains Ended the Texas Drought?
We can’t really say that the drought is “over” but we can say that conditions have improved over the past few weeks with recent and much-needed rains in many areas of the state.
We pulled the “worst-looking” drought map of the whole summer, which came out on August 9th (on the left), and we also pulled the most recent drought map which came out on August 30, 2022 (middle). Brazos County has moved from D3 – Extreme Drought, to D1 – Moderate Drought.
Overall conditions have swung in a better direction throughout the state. Although, there are certainly still some areas that have not improved. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that none of the recent drought maps look as bad as the really bad drought that occurred in 2011 (far right image).
In summary, this wasn’t the worst summer drought in recent history. Things are looking up for the most part but we are not fully out of the woods yet. But it’s also Texas so are we ever really “out of the woods” when it comes to drought? Just try to keep things in perspective.
What Happens to My Home Foundation With More Rain?
Rainfall has increased over the expansive clay soils in our area. With more moisture, the clay expands. If your home was experiencing “foundation settlement” aka sinking, the symptoms of foundation movement could improve with increased rainfall. Your doors might work or latch better. If you have any diagonal cracks in your drywall, they might close up some with more water in the soil.
So your home might experience some seasonal rebounding and improvement, but that doesn’t really mean any developing foundation problems are solved.
We like to compare the seasonal forces of foundation settlement to bending a paperclip back and forth repeatedly. At first, the paperclip can easily bend back to normal, but the more you bend it back and forth, it eventually breaks.
The same sort of thing happens to your foundation every time we have these extended dry times and then it goes back to normal or moves to extreme rainfall. Eventually, it’s too much for some foundations and they become compromised.
Should I Be Worried About This Year’s Impact on My Foundation?
We tend to err on the side of *don’t worry* here at Anchor, because we don’t want homeowners to stress unnecessarily. So no you shouldn’t worry, this wasn’t the worst drought we’ve ever seen and we seem to be coming out of it.
But you should always be aware and continue to monitor your home for signs of foundation settlement, like diagonal wall cracks, trim separations, and door problems. If the signs become bothersome or cause functionality issues for your home then it might be time for at least a little concern or time to consider foundation repairs.
Like the example of the paperclip, the more often these extremes happen increases the opportunity for settlement and problems to occur. So it’s not just one year’s worth of drought that’s likely to cause a foundation issue for you. It’s more of a cumulative effect over many years that could eventually cause damage to your home.
In other words, one bad year won’t ruin everything.
What Can I Do For My Foundation Through Less Drought?
So what should you do now? It’s actually a great time to evaluate your home’s condition and make note of concerns. Watching how your home changes throughout the seasons can give you valuable historic information to use later on in determining if you have a true foundation issue.
Do a check of your home now, we’ll call this (using air quotes) *fall* and then do another check in the winter, the spring, and again next summer. Monitoring changes using tick marks on your wall cracks or by keeping notes during your seasonal checks can help reveal the whole story of your foundation condition if it ever comes time for repairs.
Don’t feel the need for daily monitoring, once a season should be more than sufficient. Keep an eye on things for at least a year and see how you feel about it next summer.
How to Monitor for Foundation Problems
Now that you know the drought conditions are improving with the recent rains and are feeling a little relief, you’re probably thinking, “Well, how do I do this *monitoring* thing you keep talking about?” Like what exactly would that process look like? We thought you might ask that question.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have been serving the Brazos Valley community for 35+ years and always want to put useful information in your hands. We want you armed with all the resources you need to make the best repair decision for you and your home.
We’ve got a Foundation Check-Up article that is written for spring but really works for every season to help you begin documenting your home foundation conditions throughout the year. Check it out!