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Summer drought conditions cause foundation issues in North Texas

Summer drought conditions may cause foundation issues
Summer drought conditions may cause foundation issues 02:16

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A hailstorm in summer. That's how foundation repair experts are describing the impact of ongoing drought conditions on house foundations - everyone should be checking for damage.

"We are in a severe drought situation," explained Blane Bartley with Dallas-based Olshan Foundation, "Everything's moving: sidewalks, driveways, houses."

Some are moving more than others.

"You see how it's breaking?" Ramona Delatorre said as she pointed out breaking bricks at her North Dallas home. "This is new."

Delatorre doesn't have to look for foundation damage, it's all around.

"The streets are breaking apart - you're driving, and the road is like this," as she gestures, demonstrating the shifting streets.

Bartley said many long-time homeowners this summer are seeing foundation problems for the first time.

"As the dirt moves," explained Barley, "so does your house."

On this day, crews were busy driving steel and concrete cylinders 25 feet below the surface to stabilize a house near Delatorre's that had long been neglected. The goal is the keep the house from continued shifting, explained Mike Deshazer with Olshan.

Foundation repair experts caution customers against making cosmetic repairs - like fixing cracked walls - without addressing the foundation issues causing the damage. He said proper maintenance is critical, especially now.

"There are simple measures you can take like a soaker hose...20-24 inches out around the perimeter of your house," explained Bartley. "You're trying to get it tacky, almost like playdoh tacky. And it's hard to do. We're in drought conditions and with wind and with restrictions it's a big challenge for homeowners right now."

Still, Bartley says even with water restrictions in place in some communities, it's important to spend your watering allowance where it matters.

"The grass is gonna die - it will come back," said Bartley. "This is your biggest investment. Focus on the perimeter of your house and watering that as much as you can."

Now, imagine the frustration if you've done all that and are still seeing issues.

Delatorre also had her home's foundation repaired.

"$11,000 two years ago," said Delatorre, and adds that after making drywall and paint repairs, "it's shifting again."

Delatorre plans to reach out to the company that did the work to figure out next steps.  

So, another reminder from the experts: vet foundation companies carefully. Lifetime guarantees aren't worth much if the company is no longer in business.

 "It is so difficult to keep up with what Mother Nature is doing to your house," said Bartley, "you can only do as much as you can do."

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