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Re: Have you heard of watering your foundation?

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Bruce:
 
I also practice in NY at the western end of the state.  The glacial clays present around here normaly do not requiring watering but on occasion it is a good practice to follow.  Several years ago, I investigated a house foundation that rapidly deveolped huge cracks in the floor slab. 
 
The structure was 15 years old and had only 1/8" shrinkage cracks in its basement floor for the this period.  In the space of two months, the cracks increased in width to 1 1/2" wide.  The clay under the footing had dried out, allowing the house to settle and drag the edge of the slab doiwn, buckling it.
 
Watering the foundation stopped further settlements..
 
John Schenne, PE
Schenne & Associates
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 11:46 AM
Subject: Have you heard of watering your foundation?

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