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Re: Have you heard of watering your foundation?

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I live in Dallas and "Yes" you do need to maintain moisture around the slab. We have highly expansive clay soils here and if you don't water the foundation (put water into the soil around the foundation) you will get shifts in the soil that cause cracks in the concrete.

For the same reason, you don't want to plant large trees or shrubs near the foundation. I have been told that a 30 ft oak tree can take as much as 200 gallons of water out of the soil each day during our hot summer season.

It is a bit of a dichotomy. You want to slope the soil away from the foundation to avoid excessive water buildup, but you need to water the foundation during the dry months. Go figure.

Jay Shilstone

At 11:46 AM 11/18/02 -0500, you wrote:
I was asked this question by my brother who is building a house in the Dallas area. I am a structural engineer in New York state and my response was- What? Why? I have not heard of this practice and neither has anyone I work with. The people he has spoken to (who are not engineers) say that if you don't water the concrete it somehow loses strength and cracks. The only thing I can figure is that the clay soil there has not been preconsolidated by glaciers as it has here and the moisture is kept up to prevent consolidation and settlement of the house. Am I on the right track?

Bruce C. Trobridge PE
Senior Building Structural Engineer
NYS - Office of General Services
(518) 486-1749

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