Oklahoma's drought impacting home foundations

Monday, February 13th 2006, 11:27 am
By: News On 6

We've come to expect forecasts of dry weather and high fire danger, but the prolonged drought isn't helping homeowners either. More folks are finding their foundations are in need of fixing.

News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson explains how the clay soils here in eastern Oklahoma, expand and contract with the moisture.

Since we've gone months with little to no rain, many foundations are settling more than ever before. Structural engineer David Sanders took us to a home in Bixby to point out problem spots. Sanders says on brick homes, look at the top of pillars around your garage. And any house with cracks coming from a corner could have major problems. Some horizontal cracks will happen naturally, but Sanders says diagonal cracks are a big warning sign.

If your house is problem-free, Sanders says you should water your foundation to prevent problems in the future. "If they haven't been watering yet this winter, I would suggest that they'd begin watering now. Do it once a week. Slowly build up some moisture in the soil so it can become consistent, and that should stop any movement in the soil.”

There are dozens foundation repair companies around town. Olshan is doing major work on a house in Broken Arrow.

Companies like Olshan say they're seeing a huge backlog because of the drought. Managers say they won't be able to start any new projects until after April.