Drought to blame for cracked home foundations

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Severe dry conditions and hot temperatures in southwest Louisiana have led to an increase in cracked home foundations in recent weeks.

Lake area construction companies continue to see an increase in foundation separations during the summer months where there is little rain and hot temperatures.

The foundation problems are the result of a lack of evaporation in the ground that causes the ground to shrink.

"The more cracks we have in the ground the weaker the ground gets," said Jairus Martin with Ava Maria Construction in Sulphur. "This makes it harder to hold our slabs up, so we're having foundation problems on slabs."

Another factor that leads to cracked foundations is planting trees and bushes too close to the slab. The vegetation often begins to grow under the slab which leads to cracks in the foundation.

Cracked foundations can result in extensive damage for homes in the future.

"I've seen half inch gaps in people's floors and in their walls," Martin said.

Martin said residents should keep their slabs watered to prevent any separations in their foundation.

"If you use soaker hoses around your house and keep that crack closed, then you have a less chance of this happening to your home," Martin said.

Martin added that planting flower beds with a termite resistant mulch can keep moisture against the home.

Current conditions for house foundations are expected to stay the same until the drought season ends.