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How Drought Affects Concrete

Drought can greatly affect the soil around your foundation, causing your concrete to crack and sink. At Peak Structural, we can handle the problems that arise during those long periods without any precipitation.

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A type of natural disaster, drought is a prolonged period of a lack of precipitation or moisture. Droughts can last from a little as a couple of weeks to as long as a few years. Droughts can greatly affect your concrete, with shrinkage occurring during the dry period and expansion happening when precipitation occurs.

What Causes a Drought

As explained above, droughts are extended periods of no precipitation that lead to an extreme problem with the affected area’s soil drying out and plants drying out. Drier than normal periods affect the area’s water supply, quickly drying out the area. During a drought, rainfall virtually stops, streams flow slower, water levels in reservoirs and lakes decline, and water in wells becomes shallower. 

While it may seem like droughts occur only in hot, arid climates, this is definitely not the case. It is only when the dry period is abnormal that it is considered a drought. Over time, however, areas will start to experience consistent water patterns and temperatures. Places–such as Colorado–have a dry climate, and the area experiences drought periods quite often. The soil in Colorado is expansive, meaning it will expand when wet and shrink when dry, causing dry weather to affect the stability of your foundation.

Arid – vector of dried fields rice.

Droughts are not always solved by precipitation. Sometimes, rain can lighten the drought a little, but soon goes back to being extremely dry as most of the moisture is soaked up by plants. A drought is not considered over until there are enough significant periods of rainfall or snowfall. Typically, it takes rain over several months to turn the area back to its pre-drought state. At Peak Structural, we know how to handle these months, as well as install preventative measures or repairs to shore up your home and its concrete structures.

The Risks of Drought

When it comes to your home’s foundation, a drought in your area can cause significant problems to your home’s basement, crawl space, and even concrete.

Cracked Concrete

When the soils in Colorado dry out, they start to shrink. This shrinkage can cause your concrete to crack. Once your concrete has become cracked, then it is now exposed to the elements, debris, pests, and mold. And, because the soil is so dry, many technicians will not even attempt to pour concrete during droughts. This is because the water used to form the concrete mixture will dry far too quickly for successful installation. Cracked concrete can lead to trips and falls, making you liable for any injuries that may happen because of your damaged concrete.

Shifting Foundation

Like your home’s concrete, the foundation of your home–which is also made of concrete or brick–is especially vulnerable during a drought. Due to soil shrinkage, cracks and gaps are created in the ground. Eventually, these voids will lead to additional soil shifting, which will cause your home to start settling, meaning the foundation is becoming off kilter. If your home is shifting, there are several signs that you will be able to observe, such as cracks along the walls and floors, high humidity, uneven floors, and more. A foundation will not shift overnight, it takes some time for the issue to get so bad that it is noticeable. That is why you should evaluate your home annually for any structural damage.

Cracked Basement Floors

The soil around your basement will most likely dry out during droughts, while the soil underneath may still retain some moisture. When the dried soil begins to cause your basement floors to crack. Any water left in the soil will find its way into your basement, causing water damage, excess humidity, and a possible infestation of mold. This is why cracks in the concrete floor of your basement should be evaluated before the problems get worse. If ignored, the crack can grow, leading to more moisture and mold issues.

FAQs

In Colorado, the soil is unstable and expansive. So, it will expand when wet, and shrink when it’s dry. This can lead to an unstable foundation, making the need for foundation evaluation and repair–if needed—is important if you live in places with this type of soil.

While water being poured directly on your foundation is something we don’t really recommend, as it can lead to leaks in your basement or crawl space. However, during droughts you can prevent damage from the drought by pouring water around the foundation to stabilize the moisture levels.

As mentioned above, it is very difficult to pour concrete when there is a drought going on in the area. Water is used to make the mixture that forms concrete. When there’s a drought, this water evaporates quickly, so the concrete dries and sets improperly.

Call Us for a Free Inspection

If you live in DenverColorado Springs, or Pikes Peak, then you are probably used to periods of droughts. That is why you should be on the lookout for any signs of damage to your concrete. Cracked concrete, sunken concrete, and uneven concrete slabs are a few signs you can observe on your home. Once these issues have been noticed, then it is time to contact a foundation repair professional like Peak. 

Our technicians are equipped with the right knowledge and tools to fix your cracked concrete quickly and effectively. So, don’t hesitate! If you’re bothered by your unsightly cracked concrete, contact us. We offer FREE, no obligation inspections. 

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