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Professor of hydrology on cracks in houses due to drought: “Mainly problem in the south of East and West Flanders”

“In recent years we have seen more and more cracks in houses due to persistent drought.” That’s what hydrology professor Marijke Huysmans says. The problem would mainly arise in areas with a lot of clay soil, such as in the south of East and West Flanders.

Last week we brought the story of a couple in Linter, in Flemish Brabant, who suffered from cracks in their house. A stability engineer said those cracks were caused by the drought. But could the drought alone be the cause?

“It is difficult to judge this specific case, but we have seen more such problems in recent years, where dry soils lead to damage to houses,” said hydrology professor Marijke Huysmans in “The world today” on Radio 1.

“The problem does not occur everywhere in Flanders. Areas with plastic clays in the shallow subsurface seem to be particularly affected. They are very sensitive to volume change. When it is very wet, they swell and when it is very dry they shrink. the ground can subside, a house may become crooked and then there will be cracks. The problem occurs mainly in the south of East and West Flanders, but also in the east of Flemish Brabant. ”

“There are technical solutions to the problem, but then you have to strengthen or deepen the foundations and these are expensive interventions. The costs are also not covered by insurance or reimbursed by the government. So you have nowhere to go with the invoices.”

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