You may think that your foundation can’t be damaged once you build your home. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Sinkholes, excessively moist soil, and drought are just a few things that can cause foundation damage after the fact. As you can see, the stability and longevity of your foundation will be determined by the soil around it. The ground can freeze, become wet and soft, or extremely dry. All of these states will have a different impact on your foundation. However, today we will discuss how drought affects your home’s foundation.

The Effect of Drought on Soil

The majority of houses have a foundation that is surrounded by various types of soil. Each layer will react differently depending on the temperature and weather conditions. Sand, silt, and clay are the three primary components of soil. The soil beneath your foundation will, for the most part, be a combination of these three elements. If the soil is sand, the rain will drain through, which doesn’t usually cause any issues. However, when the soil is primarily clay, water can become trapped inside the granule when it rains a lot. The main problem with clay soil is that it has the potential to form expansive soil. This occurs when clay-rich soil expands and fills with moisture. Expansive soil is dangerous because it can expand due to excessive moisture, causing costly foundation damage.

It’s tough to tell if your home’s foundation has problems simply by looking at the house or the ground. This is why, if you are unsure about the state of your foundation, you should consider getting a home foundation inspection. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will be able to relax.

How Drought-Related Soil Changes Affect Your Home’s Foundation

When ground that is usually moist doesn’t get water for an extended time, the water inside the clay evaporates, producing soil shrinkage. This causes the ground to press down on your foundation, putting a lot of strain on it. Not only that, but the soil can get into all the small cracks and openings in your foundation. Some soil settling is expected, according to structural inspection experts. However, drought can accelerate this process and cause your foundation to become uneven. If you want to avoid serious problems, don’t put off contacting professionals for assistance for too long.

The Most Common Ways Drought Affects Your Home’s Foundation

1. Cracks

By far, the most prevalent sign of foundation damage is cracks. Inspect any of your home’s walls more closely. You will typically find it in your home’s siding, walls, and brickwork. Also, it is not uncommon to find cracks in tile flooring and drywall. In severe cases, you can see cracks around your home – on your porch, patio, or driveway. If this is the case, your whole house may be at risk.

2. Plumbing Issues

Drought-related foundation difficulties might also result in damaged pipes. This is not just an indicator of foundation concerns but may also lead to other plumbing troubles. If the water pressure in your home is low regardless of the time of day or any plumbing repairs you perform, the water main that runs through the foundation may have burst. If this occurs, the ground around your home will become damp. Consider any of these problems to be an emergency.

3. Uneven Floors

Uneven floors are a less frequent problem, but they are the most recognizable. There are two possible causes if you are experiencing this issue. We’ve already discussed the initial cause of this phenomenon (due to soil shrinkage). The second probable cause of uneven floors could be a sinking foundation. It is also possible for this to occur during a drought. If the floor in the basement feels uneven, check for cracks in the flooring or ceiling. You can also perform a quick test by placing a marble in the middle of the floor and observing whether it rolls to one side. This approach is not foolproof but may help you identify potential issues.

How to Prevent Drought Damage to Your Home

In 2022, it appears that no place is safe from drought. For this reason, you need to be prepared for it. We’ve gone over how drought affects your home’s foundation. Therefore, you have to pay attention to the signs. If you notice any of them, as we’ve mentioned multiple times now, call a professional for help. If you postpone this for too long, you risk having to do extensive foundation repairs that are often priced in the six figures. Not only that, but homeowners’ insurance rarely covers these expenses. If you are proactive and take preventative measures, you may be able to save yourself a lot of time and money. The two main things you can do to prevent damage during drought are:

  1. Water soil:  If you do this, you can prevent soil shrinkage caused by drought. You can use a soaker hose to do this job. You don’t need to overdo it; leaving it on for five minutes during the hottest part of the day is sufficient. It is unwise to use a great deal of water in a drought situation. Therefore, be cautious in your approach.
  2. Take care of your landscaping: If you have a lot of bushes, trees, and plants around your house, make sure the roots are not too close to the foundation. Plants’ root-to-shoot ratio tends to increase during drought, allowing them to reach deeper into the ground. They may even be able to get to the foundation.


Now that you know how drought affects your home’s foundation, you can take steps to prevent any harm from coming to your home. As you can see, the signs are clear, and the preventative measures are straightforward. However, if you are unsure what to do, you can always ask professionals for aid.

Author Bio: Rick Booth has worked in the real estate industry as a home appraiser and writer for ten years. Most of his recent work can be found on, and most of what he has written focuses on home improvement and security topics.