A number of Winnipeg homeowners are dealing with cracking, buckling and sinking foundations due to unusually dry weather conditions over the past year.

The dry weather has dried out the soil around people's houses, which is causing foundation problems in many cases, says Gerry Bonham, a foundation repair specialist.

The basement floor was sloping at one home, while cracks were forming on the ceiling of another residence.

At another home, Bonham was able to fit his hand inside a crack in the foundation wall.

"The soil is drying out and this footing has dropped, and you can actually put your hand right through the foundation wall," he said.

Bonham said the soil needs the right amount of moisture in order to support house foundations.

Without that moisture balance, foundations can deteriorate quickly, and that can cost homeowners money, he said.

"When you underpin a home, it can cost $30,000 … [to] $50,000 to do the whole thing," he said.

Until there is significant rainfall, Bonham said homeowners can take measures to maintain the soil moisture around their homes.

"Try and replenish the water underneath the foundation wall itself," he said, adding that it's best to water a metre or so away from the house.

Also a factor in water main breaks

Meanwhile, the City of Winnipeg has been dealing with its own problems because of dry soil conditions, which contribute to water main breaks.

There have been three times as many water main breaks in the city in August and September, and crews have been working around the clock to fix them.

"They are working extra hours, and it can be taxing," said Tim Shanks of the city's water and waste department.

Shanks said those main breaks can affect the sediment in water mains, and means residents may see brown water.

"There's a sudden change or shift in flow direction, and that can stir up and suspend some of that material, and that creates a discolouration in the customers' water," he said.