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To reduce movement and settlement to the house structure in the future, I suggest that all homeowners living in the Houston Area install and utilize a sprinkler system and/or soaker hoses to feed the vegetation and trees adjacent to the monolithic (or pier and beam) foundation. By regularly wetting the soils, particularly during hot, dry periods, not only will the vegetation be fed, but also soil expansion (& contraction) can be reduced and movements to the monolithic (or pier and beam) foundation and the external and internal surfaces of the house can be reduced. A gutter system including downspouts and splash plates (or flex houses) should be installed on all sides of the house to disperse rainwater away from the monolithic foundation - a very important feature on any house.

If you install soaker hoses they should be installed "upside down on top of the ground" and 6 to 12 inches from the perimeter of the house, except across the driveway, patio and walkways. Proper watering schedule with either a sprinkler system or soaker hoses can be more effectively determined with the use of a soil moisture indicator, a very helpful device. A moisture indicator can be purchased ($5/ea.) at any garden supply store, i.e. Walmart, Home Depot, etc. The homeowner should maintain stable soil moisture content around the perimeter of the monolithic foundation during all seasons, particularly in the Houston Area.

I suggested that each homeowner maintain a record of the soil moisture readings at various points around the house to determine the effectiveness of their watering schedule for protecting the structural integrity of the monolithic (or pier and beam) foundation and plants and trees. A copy of the floor plan sketch can be used to spot several test points ( numbers) around the perimeter of the house. The needle of the moisture indicator should point near the middle of the scale when making soil measurements. The soil readings should be measured about an hour after the watering system is turned off. In the beginning I suggest that the homeowner make soil moisture measurements twice a week, particularly during the hot summer time, to establish a proper length of time and frequency for watering.


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