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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dry Lawns Make Roofs Leak.

Houses are heaving and mosquitoes are plotting an invasion. Soon the heat will return with humidity that rivals Manila's. The dry soil combined with sudden shifting of the mud jacking everybody just received not only cracks the sheetrock around the doors that are now not cooperating in their swings, it reveals leaks.
Leaks are like cars going down the LBJ. Some go everyday, others visit every once in a while, but sooner or later a new car joins the fracas. "It never leaked before?" Time for a little metaphysical explanation of how time began. Everything has an inception date. You're just not aware of it until things get bigger, like the bulge in your ceiling.
The sun parched roof where temperatures soar to 160 have sustained a nuclear barrage during the day with rapid evening cooling. Humidity stalks under your improperly vented attic and the thin plywood gets thinner. The house sagged even though you watered your foundation.
Ha! Your neighbor didn't water his yard, as apparent by the now giant shoots of Dallas grass protruding from the dead assortment of grasses encircling his shanty.
How can you lift your home by watering the two feet around it when hundreds, if not thousands, of square yards around your home are cracked up enough to swallow your dog? That's why he has four legs and a tail by the way. He's not breaking his ankle in the miniature canyons.
All this soil had departed a few inches from your home, a collection of concrete, wood, asphalt, and all your junk. Add a couple of cars and the daily junk mail and the tonnage is recorded in British Military journals or some place where taxes are figured.
And your house is higher than the surrounding topography retracting from it.
You see that you home has been moving for at least the last 30 days of bake and now it's trying to shake back in one. Not good for uncoated nails. Did you hear the creaking? Did it sound like someone was walking down the hall in the middle of the night? Besides the point.
I hate to say it but "WALLAH!"
I haven't heard from you in years. I thought you didn't love me anymore. We've got to stop meeting like this. It never leaked before.
Stop it. I've heard all this. Why didn't you call for your free roof check up? It's free. That's all the market can bear. Now you need a painter too, and maybe that old proverbial marriage...
We can fix your roof. We can put it back like it was except for the fading. We roofers drain the color with our skin making ourselves darker and your roof Energy Star.
Now remember to water your yard and slow down the attack of the cracks. Maybe your neighbor will see your pretty yard and try a little harder, especially after you tell him dry soil broke your home and wallet while you glare at his savanna. Show him copies of the bills and then give them to him. That will get him watering before Perry Mason shows up.
In case you haven't done the math, a free roof check up is better than an interior water damage repair. A water bill is cheaper than sheetrock, foundation, and roof repairs. Besides, the inside and outside of your home look better.
It is a civic duty to water your yard every once in a while. It is rather neighborly to keep a green lawn. And you'll need me less.
In finality, as if you thought this ditty would never stop rambling, the Ying and Yang of this and that is no water in the yard is water in the attic.

Revisted with new knowledge: A home inspector/engineer told me while we were discussing the viability of a roof structure in Dallas near Mesquite in the vicinity of the Dallas Athletic Club, that the expansive clay used around the foundation acts as a seal to keep water from infiltrating under the home. So watering your foundation does help to keep the flood out during a drought. If the builder placed soil is kept moist the rainwater can't seep under the house in droves (water droves?). The foundation ventilation needs of a pier and beam foundation are similar to a roof's but slabs work on a system of near constant moisture underneath to keep the slab firm and constant.
I still maintain you really don't want your yard contracting and a dry yard might interfere with the natural migration and equalization forces of nature. The famous law of averages makes moisture and heat move to the nearest location where they are in lesser quantity. A dry yard must have some effect on the dirt under your home.
I wouldn't take a chance.
Another foundation nemesis is the dying/drying root. Sure roots can lift a building. But they'll try to take the path of least resistance to where they want to go until forced to rip the steel and concrete structure apart for the water they know is under your home. The conundrum is that not watering your foundation, which is not necessary if you water your yard, breaks the expansive soil protection and when the forty days and nights come, or just ten might do it, you'll get a pool under your home.
Years later, after the killer root who broke your home's base has met the end of its life cycle, the decay of this giant forbidding behemoth of power that lifted your home a half inch will start to return to dust. You know the dust left after you burn a big chunk of wood that might composed .005% of volume.
Welcome to Carlsbad Caverns, or is it Inner Space?
As the world turns and spins around Sol, this departed organic matter allows your home to settle up to a foot. You see, the root has buddies. Millions of them, from capillary size to the thigh of Lou Ferrigno during his prime after he pumped up or maybe double or triple that along side all the others, that could theoretically make up half the fill under the northwest corner of your home.
You'll never hear "crack" or "boom" but you'll feel the pain when you try to sell your home and the foundation, sheet rock, plumbing, roof, and structure of your home needs to be rebuilt before any mortgage or insurance company will touch it.
If you can't bring yourself to torch it, turn it into a rental and don't give the renters their deposit back. They might torch it for you I've heard.