Foundation Watering System: protect your home from the damaging effects of drought

The risk of foundation damage threatens Texas homes as drought conditions drag on. As we face yet another season of extended dry weather, now is a good time for Texas homeowners to revisit the importance of foundation watering as a common-sense protective measure.

How do drought conditions affect foundations?

A foundation is only as good as the soil that supports it. A reputable homebuilder will take several important precautions before and during construction to make sure that the foundation stays in alignment with full load-bearing capacity for the life of the home above it.

  • Confirm the surrounding soil type and composition
  • Confirm the correct soil depth for piers and support enhancements
  • Prepare the site with proper soil compaction and rough grading
  • Account for local ground water conditions in foundation design and construction
  • Plan fine grading that draws excessive water away from the completed home

There’s a “Goldilocks” factor at work in the partnership between your home’s foundation and the soil holding it up. Too much moisture leads to erosion and causes parts of your foundation to sink or drift out of alignment. Too little moisture causes the surrounding soil to contract and pull away, compromising the foundation’s ability to support the weight above it.

Extended drought conditions increase the odds that dry, shrinking soil will pull away from below-grade concrete or masonry and attack the integrity of your foundation. The ideal is just enough moisture to keep the soil around your foundation properly compacted with even contact (and resistance) all the way around the entire structure.

What is foundation watering and how does it work?

All homes tend to settle naturally over time as building materials age and interact with the environment. Ideally the settling is minimal and occurs evenly, but structural damage can start (and worsen over time) if erosion leaves parts of your foundation unsupported.

Fortunately for Texas homeowners, foundation watering is a protective measure that can help maintain moderate and consistent soil moisture. If you’re a DIY enthusiast with less severe issues and catch problems before the serious foundation damage begins, this is something you might be able to manage yourself, with a simple homemade solution that includes a soaker hose. Click here for more tips to protect and maintain your home’s foundation.

For more serious structural problems related to drought, you’ll want a more comprehensive and long-term solution.

void in soil due to drought conditions

Olshan’s Automated Foundation Watering System – Maintain Stable Soil Conditions Underneath Your Home

Don’t let drought conditions ruin your home’s foundation. Olshan’s innovative Foundation Watering System can be installed to protect and monitor the soil underneath your home.

For moderate-to-extreme cases, especially in extended drought conditions like we have in the Texas area, a DIY approach can be too time-consuming and less effective long-term. The good news is, Olshan’s Automated Foundation Watering System is designed to take the worry, hassle and guesswork out of foundation maintenance.

Paul Howland of Olshan Foundation Solutions in Houston, TX explains how the process works:

The first step is to dig a two-inch-wide trench around the outside of your foundation. The trench runs from 12 to 18 inches deep and sits about two feet out from the exterior walls. Next, we install an engineered water line with emitters at 12-inch intervals to maintain consistent moisture levels. Moisture sensors ensure optimal saturation and prevent water waste.

Unlike a simple soaker hose solution, Olshan’s Automated Watering System waters deep below your home’s foundation – where it’s needed most.

Keeping Your Home on Stable Ground

The Automated Foundation Watering System takes the guesswork out of watering your foundation and helps prevent you from over-watering. The system includes:

  • Trench. A trench is dug around the exterior of your foundation about 2 feet off the exterior walls and 12 to 18 inches deep.
  • Moisture Emitters. Olshan will lay a water line in the trench and install moisture emitters inside.
  • Moisture Sensors. Moisture sensors will also be installed, ensuring healthy levels of moisture for your soils. This helps you conserve water, prevents you from over-watering and takes the guesswork out of keeping your home’s foundation adequately hydrated throughout the year.

By deep-watering the soil underneath your home when it needs it most, our Automated Foundation Watering System keeps your home protected and helps you avoid expensive foundation damage over time.

Get unbiased expert advice with no obligation

Olshan has been helping property owners protect their homes since 1933. In addition to our expertise in all aspects of foundation repair, we offer a complete and reliable foundation watering solution that automates the entire process for you. We stand by our work and offer affordable payment plans for many of our services.

If you suspect that dry soil may be threatening your foundation, one of our foundation experts can provide a free, no-obligation evaluation and walk you through the options that are best for your home and budget.

Chris Cates, Olshan Subject Matter Expert

Chris Cates

Chris has been in the foundation repair industry since the late 80’s. He has 40+ years of experience designing foundation repairs plans of all types and sizes. Chris’ work and expertise has been featured in the local Houston media several times, including appearances on the CW39 News, Click 2 Houston News, ABC 13 News, The Sealy News and The Houston Business Journal. Chris’ important work in research and development, played an integral role in the development of a patented repair method (US Patent #10,428,516 B2) designed to stabilize damaged tilt walls. Chris Cates is recognized as an innovator in the industry both locally and nationally.


  1. February 9, 2023 - Kristen:

    I wish you serviced Kansas. This is the only such service I have seen offered anywhere. We had a structural engineer come out to inspect our foundation due to drywall cracks and he said you can either spend $50,000 and pier the whole thing or just keep your soil properly moisturized . Easier said than done.

  2. February 9, 2023 - The Olshan Man:

    Hello Kristen! We do service most parts of Kansas. Please let us know if you’d like a free evaluation.

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