How to Prevent Soil Erosion to Protect Foundation from Damage?
Soil erosion occurs when the topsoil erodes due to certain elements such as drought or poor irrigation. Thereafter, it exposes the underlying earth around a foundation, which can lead to big foundation problems down the road.
When developers or homeowners remove trees around a home, they also dispose of the root system, which originally held the topsoil firmly in place. When there are windy periods or heavy rainfalls, the exposed soil loosens and undergoes rapid erosion.
How does soil erosion cause problems?
Soil erosion is a common concern in the agricultural industry. This is because when the nutrient rich topsoil is lost; the crop yield shows a sharp reduction. But, you don’t have to be a farmer to feel the impact of soil erosion.
Severe property damage is another harmful impact of soil erosion even for homeowners living in urban or suburban areas. Soil erosion is an especially common problem for Dallas/Fort Worth area homeowners due to the extreme periods of heat and drought.
When the protective layer of topsoil is removed, the ground under it takes a lot of time in attracting and retaining moisture. This means the soil surrounding your house can undergo quick expansion and contraction. These fluctuations cause extreme stress on the foundation of your property.
The stress that your home’s foundation goes through typically begins with hairline cracks. However, if you do not get the foundation repair done in time, these cracks can lead to more severe problems such as:
- Total failure of the foundation
- Warped floors
- Buckling walls
- Leaning chimneys
- Sagging roofs
Plus soil erosion may also give rise to serious aftereffects like flooding and washouts. Whenever the topsoil gets loose, it is next to impossible to prevent the cascading of earth, debris, and water into your house or out of your yard.
So, a homeowner should not underestimate the effects of soil erosion on their foundation. While it takes centuries to naturally form even one inch of soil, destroying that layer takes no time at all, which can be devastating to a home (especially in North Texas).
Ways of preventing soil erosion around your home’s foundation
If you think your home is threatened by soil erosion, you should immediately consult an experienced foundation repair service company who can inspect the property and suggest the most appropriate solution.
Here are a few of the most recommended strategies to prevent soil erosion:
This is one of the most effective solutions, which includes planting grass, trees, and bushes strategically around your house so that the topsoil can be held in place. Such landscaping also lowers the danger of soil erosion over time. If you’re in an area that isn’t ideal for planting, you could try using gravel, mulch, and rocks to hide the exposed patches and prevent further erosion.
While landscaping could be a Do It Yourself project, the placement of grass or shrubbery is very important.
- If the planting is done in close proximity to your house, the roots, leading to long-term damage, can eat up your foundation. You should research the root system of the plants you plan to use, and look for recommendations of plants that won’t cause more damage over time.
- When the trees or shrubs are planted too far away, moisture levels that surround your house cannot be regulated properly by the roots.
Intelligent landscaping works effectively in flatter areas. On the other hand when your house is located on a slope, you may need to look into more significant erosion prevention strategies.
A good preventative plan for North Texas homes is to regularly water your foundation. This will keep the soil around your home moist and ensure that the area doesn’t crack during long dry periods. If you use sprinklers to water your grass, make sure that you are getting coverage to the parts of your yard that meets your home’s foundation.
Another good way to water your foundation is to use a soaker hose. Just set up a soaker hose around the foundation of your home and water for an hour a few times a week. A soaker hose is a great option for homeowners concerned with water conservation.
Anchor retaining walls
So, what is a retaining wall? It is a protective barrier, which is installed at the slope’s bottom so that the soil can be prevented from falling down. After it’s anchored, this protective wall can hold the slope firmly in place to counter gravitational force.
Install stepped terraces
In this technique, “mini” retaining walls are installed on the entire slope at fixed intervals. The ground is leveled at every successive layer so that a chain of stepped terraces can be created. This is a great way to protect a large sloped area from erosion during and after heavy rainfall.
Is your home getting threatened by soil erosion?
Foundation damage due to soil erosion can occur in any place, regardless of yard grade or landscaping. If you’re worried that your foundation has already suffered due to soil erosion, you should contact a professional foundation repair company for a full evaluation. The company will preform a comprehensive inspection of the property and either provide a repair estimate, or make recommendations to prevent further damage.