Grand Designs Australia

Protect your home from boggy soil

Damp soil can have a damaging effect on your home’s external structure so it is important to keep soil in your garden well drained. Not only can damp soil deteriorate your fences but it can lead to cracks in the brickwork and rotting in your floorboards.

You should aim to maintain a constant minimum level of moisture in the ground near the house. Keeping the soil moist prevents sudden and severe brickwork cracking due to drying and shrinking soils, especially clay soils.

Watering the garden

Drip watering systems are better than sprinklers because the water slowly infiltrates the soil. Your water supply authority may allow drip systems to be used during water restrictions if it has a pressure reducer and timer.

Keep the garden well drained

Clay soils can swell in wet conditions and shrink in dry weather, un-compacted soil can subside and any of these conditions may cause a brick house to crack. In extreme wet conditions, concrete floor slabs can become damp if not properly waterproofed which can lead to cracking.

If your ground becomes unacceptably boggy in wet weather, you can install agricultural drains and backfill with coarse aggregate.

Another tip to alleviate boggy soil is to import sandy loam to raise the garden's surface above the water table. Filling against brick walls should be 150mm or more below the underside of structural timber floor members and lower than the damp-proof course or weep holes. Drain away from the house at all times to decrease floor dampness. In older brick homes, wet soils along with faulty damp-proof courses are a major factor contributing to rising dampness.

Maintaining fences
Regularly cut back trees and creepers and drain away boggy soils to prevent early deterioration of your fences. You should remove soil build-up from the bottom board, the plinth, or it will deteriorate rapidly, particularly if the soil is moist. If soil build-up is inevitable, replace the ordinary hardwood plinth with CCA treated pine or a rot resistant hardwood such as redgum; they are slower to rot.

Take these preventative measures early and you can avoid costly repairs in the future.
soil, home maintanence, damp, brick wall, dampness

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