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Heat, drought affecting foundations

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- They are the tell-tale signs of foundation problems, doors getting stuck, cracks in your bricks and spaces all around your home where you had none before.

With this summer's hot temperatures and dry conditions, the potential for problems is even greater and the cost to homeowners can break the bank. Foundation repair costs can range from $2,000- $3,000 to $20-$30,000 depending on the size of your house and the size of your problem.

Summer time is their busiest time of year and this summer Olshan Foundation Repair is busier than ever.

"Late May they started picking up a little bit. We hadn't got to the real rush yet but it's coming. We know it's coming," says Manager Shannon Kemp.

Kemp says it is the hot, dry conditions that are causing foundations across the state to shift.

"The ground contracts. They are kind of like a sponge. When they get wet, they expand and when it gets dry it contracts and the house goes down with it," says Kemp.

"We saw some cracks in the brick up on the high wall side and there is a little distortion on the inside in the front bedroom," says homeowner John Cagle.

Cagle says those small signs told him the ground beneath his home needed a lift.

"Obviously some changes taking place in that foundation so we want to make sure we go ahead and get it taken care of," says Cagle.

It is a process that can take days.

"We drive our pilings down to refusal and once we hit refusal, we can start lifting the house back up," says Kemp.

But before it gets to this point, Kemp says you can prevent foundation damage by literally watering your house.

"Use a soaker hose and put it around the house about 2.5 to 3 feet away and soak it about an hour, hour and a half every day. What it does is hydrates the soils and keeps the house from dropping down," says Kemp.

Maybe a higher water bill but a simple step saving you a lot of repairs and a lot of money in the long run.

Kemp says the quicker you find the problem, the easier and cheaper it is to fix.

You can do that by checking all your doors, inside and out, to make sure they're not sticking and watch for even the tiniest cracks in your brick and concrete.

Although you may not be seeing any warning signs yet of foundation damage, Kemp says it doesn't mean you are out of the woods. They are expecting repair jobs into early next year as a result of this summer drought.


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