We get asked quite frequently by homeowners whether it’s a good idea to “water their foundations”.  The short answer is “No”.

Here’s why…

When differential movement is observed in a foundation a number of considerations come into play; what are the prevalent soil conditions in your area?, are there any unique site conditions present?, what is the history of the home?

If you are lucky enough to live in areas of stable and rocky soils (Westlake Hills, Travis Heights, Barton Hills, etc.), foundation movement is far less likely.  In these areas you are more likely to struggle to maintain a healthy garden more so than a stable foundation.

In areas such as east Austin, Pimberton Heights and Tarrytown, these areas have more expansive soil conditions that challenge any foundation system. Many of these homes in central Austin have a longer history and more than likely have experienced remodel and/or additions in the past.  Many times there may be a combination of foundation systems in play (slab on grade as well as pier and beam).  If these are older homes the foundations may not have been “engineered”.

When dealing with homes such as these, water is always the problem.  If it never rained, a foundation would never move.  It is the wet/dry cycles that put a foundation into motion.  We always suggest that site management efforts are implemented in order to move water away from the foundation.  Install gutters and extend the downspouts well away from the foundation.  Make sure that water is never allowed to pond against any part of the foundation.  If you are experiencing movement in one area of the house, see what is happening outside your home in this area.

Watering your foundation is not a very “green” solution and wastes an already valuable resource.

So… should you water your house foundation?  No. Keep water away from your foundation because…a dry foundation is a happy foundation.