What You Need to Know About Winter Risks to Home Foundations

December 10, 2019 12:59 am Published by Leave your thoughts

It’s already cold outside, and winter weather conditions are only going to bring more rain, snow and ice to many states. If you’ve gone through crazy winters in the past, then you likely own gear to clear away snow and ice from your property, like snow blowers, snow shovels, snow plows and deicing products.

Park your car outside during a snowfall and you might have to dig it out in the morning, but you can’t exactly dig your home’s foundation out of a cold situation. Here are some things you need to know about winter risks to home foundations in Jeffersonville, IN.

Overview of the effects of cold weather on foundations

Piled up snow can damage concrete, as can spring runoff from melting snow and ice. Small cracks are common as houses age and seasons change, but the combination of age, existing cracks and brutal winter weather may lead to larger, more dangerous foundation settlement issues, such as indoor flooding. It’s important to you know that foundation damage happens before temperatures reach freezing. Ice-cold temperatures can freeze water beneath the surface, causing frost heave, which occurs when ice is retained by underlying soil. It will eventually solidify into the shape of a lens.

Winter weather foundation damage

Cold weather increases winter risks to foundations in Jeffersonville, IN. This can result in costly home foundation repairs. Here’s what to be aware of ahead of the freezing cold months:

  • Soil pressure cracks: When a large amount of precipitation occurs due to snow and ice buildup on the ground’s surface, moisture will seep into the soil surrounding your home. Some soil types are less susceptible than others. It’s when the soil is sponge-like that moisture gets absorbed and retained. Soon, the soil will begin to expand and press against your home’s concrete foundation.
  • Hydrostatic pressure: The moisture from extreme rain or melt after heavy snowfall can collect in the ground, meaning the water level may rise and push against the bottom of the foundation. Cracks will appear in the concrete floor, or you’ll see moisture surfacing in slab foundations. Mold and mildew growth are also possible.
  • Desiccation pressure: The absence of water in the ground causes the soil to contract and shrink. As the earth pulls away, a home’s foundation may sink, which can lead to cracks, water seepage and uneven floors. This may cause a house to experience hydrostatic pressure. Then, as a shift in the water level occurs, it may begin to experience a different pressure that can lead to the need for foundation repair.

How to protect foundations

Snow that is left on the roof or around the foundation of your house will eventually melt, run off into the ground and cause soil erosion. To reduce problems, move snow three to five feet away from your house to a sloped area. Also, clear snow from gutters and consider installing a sump pump in your basement.

The possibility of winter risks to foundations in Jeffersonville, IN is very real. A heavily-damaged foundation may need to be repaired by professionals to deal with structural failure. Call Estes Excavating Inc. for more information.

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