Living in the Midwest, we are no strangers to cold, harsh winters, but that’s not the only drawback to winter here. The cold temperatures also affect your home’s foundation, and may even be compromising its structural integrity. Get familiar with these adverse effects that winter can bear on your home as well as some ways to prevent them from happening.
Frost heave is a condition that causes a foundation to move upwards, leading to structural damage. When temperatures drop below freezing, moisture in the soil beneath a home freezes and expands. This expansion causes lateral pressure to the foundation above it and causes an upheaval movement. This movement can cause cracks in the walls, floors, and ceilings, which can lead to further damage.
Frozen discharge line
If your home has a sump pump, the discharge line is at risk of becoming frozen during the winter. The sump pump pushes excess water out of the home through the discharge line. If this line becomes frozen, water is forced back into the home and may cause basement flooding. To ensure the discharge line does not freeze, make sure it’s situated at a downward angle so water is not able to collect inside.
Leaks and Seepage
If and when temperatures warm up after a storm, the snow will begin to melt and seep into the soil surrounding your foundation. If the water becomes excessive, it can find its way into your basement through cracks, windows, doors, etc. and cause flooding. Peeling paint, musty odors, and dampness are signs that water is leaking into your home.
When snow accumulates on a roof, rising heat from inside the home can cause it to melt. Water runs down the roof until it hits the eaves, which are not as warm as other parts of the roof, and it refreezes. A dam of ice begins to build and water is not able to flow off of the roof. Instead, it seeps into the home, causing cracks and rotting to walls and other structural components.
Winter temperatures and storms can cause some very unwanted damage to your home. To prevent these issues, it’s important to properly insulate your home to stabilize it and prevent heat from escaping. Most importantly, you should have any known problems (substantial cracks, settlement issues, etc.) fixed as soon as possible. Harsh conditions will only further these issues and you’ll be kicking yourself when they become severe. Get your free estimate before winter hits to find out how you can fight back against winter’s effects and save your foundation.