02:03PM | 08/18/05
Member Since: 08/17/05
11 lifetime posts
Not sure if this is right forum.

Hope some guru can answer my dilemma

I live in texas, where it is all clay soil

Some tell me that ground needs to be moist

all the time and hence more the water the

better it is and thus I dont need gutters

Some tell me that Gutters are a must for

having a stable foundation and better water


My house doesnt have gutters and I need

to make a decision whether to go for gutters

can some one familiar with Texas (Dallas)

would advise me?

thanks in advance,



04:31PM | 08/18/05
Member Since: 06/23/04
161 lifetime posts
Howdy from College Station:

Buildings erected on soils with high clay content are subjected to a great deal of movement. Clay expands and contracts along with its moisture level to a greater degree than any other soil type. Texas has some of the most expansive clays to be found. Consequently as summer comes and the soil dries out, it shrinks away foundations. If the foundation is supported by the soil, it drops along with the shrinking earth.

Many commercial buildings use drilled piers which are like long legs that reach deep enough to bear on stable soil where the moisture content never changes. The floor itself doesn't touch the upper ground but rather hovers above it supported by the piers.

Most residential buildings (and many commercial structures) have slab-on-grade foundations which rely on the top layer of earth for support. During periods of low moisture the earth begins to dry at the outside edge of the foundation first and then gradually toward the center. As the outside dries, that part of the foundation sags. Meanwhile the center, where the soil is still moist, stays high. Thus the slab bows as it follows the profile of the ground and walls crack. Keeping a constant moisture level around the foundation is one method of preventing cracks. Notice that the key phrase is "constant moisture level". Just because you lack gutters doesn't guarantee that the soil under your foundation will have a constant moisture level. It does mean that the soil will get a lot of water during the rain and none when it isn't raining. If you have this kind of foundation problem there are companies that install underdround irrigation systems that sense the moisture level and irrigated below the surface to maintain a constant moisture level. Sort of a burried sprinkler system. The sensor doesn't allow irrigate during periods of rain. Uncontrolled dumping of water around the house can create other problems such as soggy grass, mold, mildew, or edges of the slab that rise and fall too much.

The most reliable fix is to move to west Austin, Texas where the ground is limestone which doesn't absorb ANY water. Austin foundations are extremely stable and rarely have cracking problems due to earth movement. On the other hand they can't grow anything but mesquite.

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