The hot, dry weather plaguing the Midwest has taken a toll not just on crops and livestock, but on houses as well. Scorching temperatures, combined with a lack of precipitation, have dried out the soil around and beneath building foundations. Soil desiccation during drought conditions becomes even more of a problem as trees and shrubs reach deeper into the ground to find moisture.

As the soil gives up its moisture, it shrinks away from concrete slabs and footings, creating voids or empty spaces. As concrete slabs and foundation walls lose support from below, they often respond by sinking or settling in order to reach load-bearing soil once again.

Clay-rich soil is especially prone to shrinkage

Soil is composed of many elements, such as organic material, gravel, sand and clay. Soils that have high clay content will always be most vulnerable to shrinkage in dry weather. It's not uncommon for clay-rich soil to shrink by 35% as it dries out; it also expands significantly when wetted.

Look for telltale signs of structural damage

Wood often has enough resiliency to bend and even spring back when pressure is applied and then released. But concrete can't bend or stretch. When a concrete footing, wall or slab loses its support from below, either the entire wall or slab will tilt down into the void, or the concrete will crack to allow a section to sink down. This damage isn't always obvious, so it's wise to be on the lookout for any of the following signs:

Signs of foundation damage

  • Cracks in foundations and masonry walls
  • Settled concrete driveways, sidewalks, patios and slabs
  • Gaps between concrete slabs and building walls
  • Precast concrete steps that tilt or pull away from the house
  • Cracks in drywall at corners of window and door openings
  • Skewed openings that make windows and doors difficult to open and close

Foundation repair specialists provide solutions to drought-induced foundation damage

When you discover a structural problem with your foundation, it's important to contact a contractor who has the training and tools to correctly diagnose and repair the damage. The Foundation Recovery Systems  at Foundation Recovery Systems (FRS) are ready to help people of Missouri, Southern Iowa, and Western Illinois with their foundation and basement needs. As a member of the Groundworks, FRS has access to state-of-the-art foundation repair products such as helical piers, push piers and wall anchors. Other engineered solutions, such as polymer injection, are available for raising and leveling settled slabs. FRS specializes in permanent, cost-effective solutions to foundation problems. To schedule a free inspection and get free quote on foundation repair, contact FRS at 1-800-466-8664.