For a foundation watering system, all you ’ll need are soaker hoses and a faucet. Bury the soaker hose three inches deep, 6 inches from the edge of your foundation. Placing the hose a short distance from the foundation allows the water to soak evenly into the soil. Be careful not to place the hose against the foundation. When soil has dried and cracked, water can travel along the cracks for several feet in all directions. If the soil around your foundation is dried and cracked, then water placed next to the foundation will run through the cracks and accumulate around or under the foundation.
How much should you water? Obviously, it is necessary to water more during hot, dry weather and less during cold, damp weather. Start in the dry summer months with a 15 minute a day water regime. This can be increased or decreased as needed. The goal is to maintain a constant moisture level in the soil so that soil below the surface is damp – not soggy and not dry.
Once the watering system is set up, review the trees around the building. A single large tree can remove as much as 150 gallons of water, or almost 20 cubic feet of water, from the soil each day. Shrubs and other plants can also remove large quantities of water. When roots get under your foundations, they can cause foundation damage by drying out the soil under your foundation and causing your foundation to settle. Roots also break into pipes causing extensive plumbing damage. In such cases broken pipes lead to over wet soils which will cause foundations to heave.
Preventing pooling water around and under a foundation is recommend for homeowners who are do it yourself pros. Install gutters and downspouts that take water coming from your roof and channel it away from your foundation. Try adjusting slopes, if possible, sloping the ground away from the foundation.
Typically, a slope of an inch a foot for 4 to 5 feet is adequate as long as water is not allowed to stand within 10 feet of a foundation. If grading is not possible, install area drains to collect surface water and move it away from the foundation. In some situations, shallow French Drains can be used as a solution. When possible, direct water into a street, drainage ditch, or swale. A swale is simply a very shallow ditch that is used to carry off water.