A home’s foundation is of immense importance throughout any season, but extreme summers and winters can cause serious foundation problems. It’s easy to focus on other things during summer and winter break, such as seasonal activities, vacations, and holidays. However, paying extra close attention to your foundation during severe weather is vital, as the sooner you notice and repair foundation problems, the better.
Foundation Damage from Heat
Rising summer temperatures and lack of moisture, or in extreme cases, drought, causes the water to evaporate from your foundation. This lack of moisture in the concrete and the surrounding soil can lead to cracks, leaks, and an unstable foundation altogether. Different soil types expand and contract when water is in them at different rates, but dry weather causes soil to shrink across the board. When your foundation experiences a lack of moisture due to hot temperatures, the soil around the foundation dries out as well. As a result, the foundation may settle, leading to more cracks, weakening, and possibly sinking your foundation further.
Foundation Damage from Cold
A freezing winter can be detrimental to your foundation, especially if pre-existing cracks are present from the scorching summer. When the water in soil freezes during the winter months, it expands, causing the soil to expand as well. If the cold weather continues, the water can leak and freeze at deeper levels, worsening the cracks. Eventually, a “frost heave” can occur, which is the uplift of water-saturated soil due to frozen expansion. You’ve probably seen (or tripped over) the aftermath of a frost heave walking down the sidewalk or in your driveway when the concrete has been pushed up and shifted.
How to Protect Your Foundation
As the expands and contracts with changing temperatures, so does your concrete. Each winter, your concrete foundation expanded, and when warmer weather arrived in spring and summer, it contracted. This cycle is never-ending, leaving new cracks each year and existing cracks worsened. Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to protect your foundation during hot summers and cold winters.
Install French Drains
Installing French drains is a helpful solution to keep rainwater diverted from your home’s foundation. A French drain is essentially a trench dug beneath the ground, inset with a perforated pipe under a layer of gravel. This will allow stormwater to travel downhill, away from your home, protecting your foundation from access water, especially during harsh winters.
Ensure Your Concrete Has Moisture During Summer Months
Another helpful solution to avoid cracks in the blazing summers is to water your concrete foundation or any concrete slabs at your residence. Adding moisture will help prevent the foundation, and surrounding soil, from contracting and, in turn, cracking. Ensure your sprinklers are reaching your home’s foundation during the summer months, and if you do not have a sprinkler system, install a water hose. With temperatures in the 100’s, watering concrete for even 15-20 minutes a day will help tremendously.
Pay Attention to Plant Location
Lastly, ensure that you don’t plant any trees or large shrubbery too close to your home. Trees are another leading cause of foundation problems. As the roots grow too large, your foundation will eventually crack under pressure. Try keeping trees and large shrubbery close enough to the home to keep moisture in the soil but not close enough to where the roots may split your foundation.
Experiencing Foundation Problems? Call a Professional!
WTX Foundation Repair has over 20 years of experience and offers foundation repair, concrete lifting and leveling, house leveling, and waterproofing services in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico with 0% financing and a 100% lifetime warranty. We want to help you identify problems in your home and help you understand the severity of those problems so you can make an educated decision on what repairs you might need. Protect your home and receive a free consultation by calling (806) 477-2229 or visit wtxfoundationrepair.com for more information!