When Summer Dries Out, Cracks Pop Up


 When the rainy, wet weather of spring and early summer turns into the hot, dry days of late summer and early fall, it’s prime time for homes to shift and settle.

“What happens is if gutters aren’t clear and downspouts aren’t extended away from the home properly, water seeps into the foundation of the home and undermines the footing,” says Bill Verhonik, general manager of Michaelis Corporation. “While it’s wet, the clay soil expands and keeps the footing in place, but as soon as it dries out and the clay soil shrinks and contracts, then the void from the washed away dirt leads to movement and settling that can become a major structural defect.”

If your home is on a concrete slab or a crawlspace, and especially if it’s brick, you can do a thorough inspection to spot problems before they start. Verhonik says to begin at the outside corners of your home. Here’s what to look for:

  • Cracking on the bricks on the corners of the home where there’s a downspout dumping water
  • Cracks or movement in the brick mold, the board where the brick meets the soffit
  • Stairstep cracking at the nearest window from the corners
  • Separation of your garage door at the side next to the brick, where there’s a downspout

If you notice any of these trouble signs, it’s a good idea to contact a foundation company like Michaelis for a free inspection. Michaelis travels all over central Indiana to help people have piece of mind regarding their house or business.

If you have a vinyl, or aluminum sided home, it’s trickier to spot settling because the siding gives more easily. Look for any type of separation where you have wood trim. Wood boards will separate.

If you don’t see cracks or evidence of settling, take action to make sure you’re properly moving water away from your home. Give your gutters a good cleaning, especially as leaves fall during the later fall months, and ensure your downspouts extend at least five feet from your home.

It’s better to be proactive and head off problems before they start.