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drought and dry soil

Living on Bentonite Clay: Its Impact on Your Home

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drought and dry soil

Colorado has seen its fair share of droughts. It’s the state’s unique relationship with its bentonite soil, though, that can lend to the danger of these dry spells. While, when the rains fall normally, bentonite soil is appreciated as a waterproofing measure, it can cause more harm to your home than good when the weather starts to dry out.

When do you want to take advantage of the waterproofing benefits this soil provides, and how, when the weather dries out, can you protect your home against it?

Bentonite and Home Waterproofing

Bentonite soil can be found in droves in Colorado. This clay expands when exposed to water, but more so than most soils. As it does, it will come together and prevent water from reaching your home by almost entirely eliminating the gaps between its natural particles.

Unfortunately, bentonite soil isn’t the perfect waterproofing solution. Some of its downsides include:

  • Coverage won’t be comprehensive – As mentioned, bentonite clay can protect the bulk of your foundation. That said, if you’re relying on natural or imported bentonite, it’s always possible that there may be areas that receive less rain than others and thereby allow moisture into your home.
  • Installation takes time and can uproot your landscaping – If you don’t live in an area where bentonite soil is already plentiful, it can be expensive and time-consuming to have it transported in and installed around your home.
  • Does not prevent basement leaks – As mentioned, bentonite coverage is not comprehensive. Not only can this soil gap around your foundation, but it won’t protect your basement from leaks.

All that said, you can readily pair bentonite soil with other waterproofing measures to protect your home from rain or snowmelt. In doing so, you’ll be prepared to deal with any water the clay lets through.

Droughts and Bentonite Soil

While bentonite soil can protect your home when rain is consistent, it isn’t as much of a blessing when you’re faced with a drought. As mentioned, bentonite soil tends to swell up when exposed to rain. It is through these means that it keeps most rainwater from reaching your home. However, when the soil goes without water for an extended period of time, it shrinks. Because in its healthy state, the soil can better support your home, that shrinkage can cause a lot of shifting. Your foundation can readily settle into the gaps this soil leaves behind when it goes without water.

In turn, droughts in Grand Junction, CO, can see you dealing with unwanted heaving, sinking or settling, or cracks in your foundation.

Protecting Your Home from Your Soil in A Drought

The summer of 2020 in Grand Junction, CO, is going to put your home to the test. If you’re looking for ways to protect your foundation and basement from shifting bentonite soil, you can:

  • Look for signs of cracks – You’ll want to look to your home’s joints and walls for any initial signs of worrying damage. These parts of your home are the most sensitive and will reveal excess stress before the rest of your supports.
  • Invest in regular home inspections – You can also call on the professionals in your area for help. Home inspections are straightforward and take little time at all. Afterward, you can benefit from a free quote on any services you may need to keep your foundation safe.
  • Install a sprinkler system in your lawn – One of the easiest ways to protect your home is to invest in a sprinkler system. These systems, when used appropriately, can keep the soil around your home damp enough that the bentonite soil won’t significantly shrink, even in the face of a drought.
  • Waterproof your home – When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to invest in home waterproofing measures. These measures can range from home encapsulation in a crawl space to a sump pump in your basement, and they’ll all work to compensate for any damage that this year’s drought may cause.

Bentonite soil in the Colorado area is both a boon and a challenge to deal with, depending on the weather. If you’re looking for ways to shore up your home this summer, reach out to a professional foundation and basement repair contractors in your area for tips on how to get started.

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