The summer-long dry spell has been taking its toll on houses across Winnipeg. Wall cracks and doors that don’t close, or won’t stay shut, have been showing up, seemingly telltale signs that a home’s basement floor has been sinking.
But home-owners can reverse the situation – with the help of a hose and oscillating sprinkler, and a lot of water. Here is what Russ Slobodian, foundations expert at Saber Industries recommends:
You are going to set up the sprinkler on all sides of the house. Set it so the water spray operates only in one direction, changing course when it reaches an overhead position.
Place the sprinkler three feet from your house. Turn on the hose carefully, so there’s a gentle spray coming out parallel to your houses. Leave the hose on until you hear a flow of water going down your basement drain: that’s a signal that the section of earth you’ve been spraying is saturated.
Move the sprinkler along and spray the next section of ground in the same manner. When you again hear water pouring into the basement drain, move on. Continue until you have saturated the ground right around your house.
Make sure not to use a heavy spray of water. You want to saturate the soil; you don’t want the water to splash against the side of your house and sink downward along the basement walls.
The earth around your home is composed of silt and heavy clay. In the summer’s drought like conditions, the silt has lost its moisture and become compressed, allowing your house floor to sink. The water slowly emitted from your hose penetrates the silt and bit by bit gradually re-inflates it, until it returns to its normal size, carrying the sunken foundation back to its proper position.
Oh yes, a second construction expert assured us the other day, the water-soaked silt really can lift up the house foundation. And oh yes, if your water bill also inflates for October you’ll realize you’ve got your money’s worth out of those long watering sessions.