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Drought Causing Home Foundations To Crack

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GLEN CARBON, IL. (KTVI) - It's been a common complaint in some areas during this drought.  Doors don't seem to be shutting just right.  Large trees can suck moisture right out of the ground and that can leave cracks around a house.

"We do water but we do need some rain," said Evan Thomas, Glen Carbon homeowner.

Thomas has cracks in the ground around his house.

Tim Warchol is with Woods Basement Systems.  The foundation repair company has seen a 25% to 30% increase in the number of calls they're receiving.

"Moderately sized trees can soak up about 50 to 75 gallons of water per day," said Warchol.

Warchol offered some preventative advice.  He suggested homeowners should water the area around their homes.

"You want to stay about one to two feet away from the foundation," explained Warchol.  He said the idea is maintain a consistent moisture level in the ground year round.  During extreme drought conditions, like the ones we're seeing now, he suggests watering a couple times a day.

The extreme drought can cause the clay soil to shrink, creating cracks in the ground.

"Those voids allow the house to settle and then create cracks in the foundation," said Warchol.

He cautioned against over-watering and said a heavy downpour of rain could cause another problem.  Water gushing into cracks in the ground around a home can have the opposite effect that a drought does.

"It can push foundation walls in so you don't want oversaturated soil underneath," said Warchol.

He said it's just part of Midwest weather and says if the drought continues his business expects a 40% increase in phone calls.

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