You might not often associate wet basements with winter, as spring, summer, and fall are typically when rainfall is at its highest. But just because cold temperatures turn the wet stuff into snow, ice, and sleet doesn’t mean it’s any less of hazard to a dry basement.
Winter Weather and Your Foundation
A solid foundation is critical to the safety and comfort of your home, but water can lead to foundation damage in the way of bowed walls, wall cracks, or sinking cement. But these indicators of a wet basement aren’t the only way to know if you have a potential foundation problem at play. Warning signs also include doors or windows sticking or not opening and closing properly, and visible cracks in walls, ceilings, doorway headers, and in vinyl and ceramic floor tiles throughout your entire home.
There are plenty of outdoor measures you can take to safeguard your foundation when weather isn’t quite so frosty, but the winter season requires a special set of tips to keep your basement dry and your foundation free of damage.
- Prevent frozen pipes: The pressure caused by the expansion of freezing water can cause pipes to burst or leak water into the home. In fact, 18 percent of all plumbing supply system claims were due to frozen pipes, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IIBHS). The damage done can lead to the need for immediate foundation repairs. Frozen pipe damage can be a costly undertaking, with the IIBHS reporting claims averaging at $5,000 in water damage–roughly twice as severe as those caused by material-related plumbing system failures.
Foundation Fix: Warm up the interior of your home to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid pipes from freezing, and open cabinets and closet doors for better heat exposure to tucked away pipes. Also, insulate pipes, especially those on exterior walls, and seal off any cracks that are allow cold air to creep in.
- Avoid frost heaving: As the ground freezes, it also expands and creates a tight hold on the foundation. The further down the frost goes into the ground, the more the foundation has the potential to be lifted away from its original fit. With a space created beneath the lifted foundation, soil that is not yet frozen can shift, which changes the original space of where the foundation was laid. As the frozen ground melts (due to warm spells or the change of seasons), the foundation should resettle into the ground; however, the foundation may sit just subtly higher than previously. The more this happens over the course of many years, the less structurally sound your foundation may be.
Foundation Fix: Frost heaving can be avoided through smart foundation design, but that’s only helpful when constructing a new home or reconstructing your current home. Instead, it’s best to work with a foundation repair expert to control the mitigating factors that most commonly lead to frost heaving: the reduction of frost penetrating the ground surrounding the foundation; the elimination of water from the freezing zone; or the use of soil not susceptible to frost used in the freezing zone.
If you’re questioning whether or not the foundation of your home is solid and free of future problems, we can help. Our skilled professionals are happy to tend to any current issues or inspect your foundation for prevention measures that may be helpful.
Foundation Repair Services
A sturdy foundation is critical to any home or business. No matter the season, when you have any type of foundation problem, it needs to be repaired quickly and correctly to prevent any long term damage to your home or commercial building. These problems could be bowing basement walls or visible wall cracks, they could be sinking foundations causing doors or windows to stick or a settling concrete slab. We use foundation repair products manufactured by SafeBasements™ here in America that are tested to exceed the forces your home could place on them.