West Texas Foundation Repair is gearing up for a busy part of the year as other businesses relax a bit in the winter season. The cold winter months can create many problems for your property’s foundation, and we want our customers to know that we are here to help.
From ice dams to frost heave, extreme winter weather has an arsenal of assault tactics for your home. If your home is adequately insulated, you can avoid many of these issues, but for some problems, a professional foundation repair company is your only option.
How Does Winter Weather Affect My Foundation?
Most foundations are made of wood or concrete. Unfortunately, neither of these materials is particularly good at bending, which makes them ideal for foundations but also susceptible to one of the most damaging winter attacks.
Ice will begin to form above the soil’s frost line when temperatures drop below freezing for prolonged periods, and precipitation is already present. The frost line is where the ground will typically freeze in the winter. When this top layer of ice forms, it’s called an ice lens. As water under the ice lens evaporates, it adds to the top layer of ice and expands against your home’s foundation. The expansion will cause an upheaval under the foundation, creating lateral pressure that can form cracks and breaks in your floor.
It’s hard to predict how long a cold spell will last and whether or not moisture will occur before or during it. The best way to prevent a frost heave is to ensure your home stays warm and well-insulated. It’s important to include crawl spaces and basements in your preparation to be better prepared against extreme winter weather conditions.
Adfreezing occurs when soil “adheres” to your foundation after it “freezes.” Adfreezing can be a problem when temperatures rise and fall quickly. If dirt is stuck to your foundation as a thaw occurs, the moisture in the soil can seep into cracks, and if the temperature drops before the moisture has time to evaporate, the water will expand in these spaces and cause larger fissures to form in your foundation.
Adfreezing is harder to prevent because it occurs within the soil around your foundation rather than under it. Still, a foundation expert can help if you see signs of foundation damage around your home.
How Does Thawing Affect My Foundation?
Yes, ice dams are usually associated with roofing issues, but they can also become a foundation problem during a thaw.
An ice dam is created when snow on your roof melts and refreezes, creating a barrier for future moisture. Ice dams are commonly found in gutters where melted snow collects. When a thaw occurs, and that frozen water is suddenly released, it can accumulate around your foundation. Even an adequately graded home can have problems dispersing this large amount of water. As the water seeps into the soil, it can lead to adfreezing or a frost heave if another freeze occurs.
The best way to avoid ice dams is to ensure that your gutters are clean and allow proper water drainage. You should also ensure that your attic is adequately insulated to prevent snow from accumulating on your roof.
When moisture in the ground freezes, it moves the soil around. In its liquid form, water will fill in spaces between the earth without affecting the soil density too much. However, those spaces expand when water freezes and the soil density increases. As we know, an ice lens can cause Frost Heave, but another problem presents itself as it thaws. The soil doesn’t return to its original form, and the foundation of your house may no longer be resting in its original position. Foundation settlement can cause serious issues throughout your home. For example, the floor of your home may not fully support load-bearing walls. In this case, it’s imperative to call a foundation expert to help reinforce and level your foundation.
How Do I Know if the Freeze-Thaw Cycle Has Damaged My Foundation?
Many factors are not within your control, but West Texas Foundation Repair can help you prepare for the coming cold and ensure there are no pre-existing issues in your foundation. So call us today to get a foundation inspection and let us take the worry out of foundation problems for you.