There are some ways to minimize problems associated with shrink-swell soils without resorting to redesigning the foundation. These techniques involve keeping expansive soils from either expanding or shrinking too much around the foundation of a house by maintaining a relatively constant moisture content. Here are a couple of ways to help maintain soil moisture content:
1. Remove large trees and bushes that grow within about 10 feet of the house. Large plants tend to dry out the soil especially during the summer months.
2. Utilize drip irrigation systems to water vegetation. This minimizes the use of large volumes of water at one time.
3. See that down spouts and roof gutters disperse run-off away from the foundation. If possible, direct roof water into closed pipes that empty onto the street or other suitable location away from the foundation. This is the single most important step that can be taken to help minimize the average expansive soil problem.
4. Slope grade away from the foundation a minimum of 6” in the first 10’ of grade (0.5%). This aids runoff and helps prevent water from puddling or seeping into the ground. This simple step can significantly decrease a problem.