Winter is a time for enjoying the beauty of nature, snuggling up by the fire, and spending time with loved ones. However, for homeowners in Knoxville, the cold months can also bring a sneaky culprit that can wreak havoc on the foundation: Frost Heave.
But what is frost heaving?
It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when moisture in the soil beneath your home freezes and expands, causing the soil to push upward and lift your foundation. As the soil beneath your foundation alternates between freezing and thawing, shifting can damage your foundation, causing cracks in your basement and floors. In addition, if left unchecked, this problem could pave the way for water seepage, which can cause even more damage to your home.
In this article, Guardian, the foundation repair specialist, will educate you on the causes and signs of frost heave and some pro tips to protect your home from this dangerous winter woe.
Signs of Frost Heave Damage
When it comes to your foundation, it’s important to know the warning signs of frost heave so that you can take action before the damage becomes too severe.
Here are some of the most common warning signs to look out for:
Cracking Throughout the Interior Walls of Your Home
Frost heave can cause cracks in the walls of your home, which is one of the most obvious signs that your foundation has been damaged. These cracks can appear as jagged lines or spiderwebs and can be found on both load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls.
Horizontal Cracks Along The Upper Part Of A Basement Wall
Frost heave can also cause horizontal cracks to appear along the upper part of your basement walls, where they meet the surrounding topsoil. This soil is most affected by the freeze-thaw cycle, making it more susceptible to damage.
Cracks in the Concrete Floor Slab
If you have a concrete floor in your home, look for cracks that appear on the surface. Frost heave can cause the floor to become uneven, with some sections tilting or displacing.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s important to take action as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your foundation.
Are you worried that your home may be affected by frost heave?
Call Guardian Foundation Repair today to schedule an inspection
Type of Grounds Most Affected by Frost Heave
Not all soil is created equal when it comes to frost heave. In fact, the more absorbent and expansive the soil is, the greater the risk of damage to your foundation.
Soils high in clay and peat are particularly susceptible to frost heave, as they absorb more moisture and expand and contract more dramatically during freeze-thaw cycles. Additionally, areas with high water tables may struggle to shed moisture, putting even more pressure on your home’s foundation.
The damage caused by problematic soils can be problematic, sometimes even moving smaller structures several inches or a foot. Even sidewalks can become heaved several inches, suffering extensive damage after just one harsh winter.
Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the type of soil on which your foundation is built to be prepared for the potential foundation damage that frost heave can cause.
Effective Tips for Preventing Frost Heave:
If you live in an area prone to frost heave, it’s important to take steps to protect your home’s foundation from the damaging effects of this natural occurrence.
Here are some of the most common warning signs to look out for:
Replace Problematic Soils with Porous Alternatives
One of the most effective ways to prevent frost heave is to replace problematic soils with more porous alternatives. Soils like fine sand, clay, or silt are more likely to cause frost heave, while porous soils like gravel can help to prevent it.
Keep your Gutters in Top Shape to Protect your Foundation
Don’t let a simple fix turn into a costly repair. Your gutters are your home’s first line of defense against moisture, so ensure they are in good working order. Clean them regularly, keep them attached securely to your home, and consider installing extensions to direct water away from your foundation.
Without proper drainage, runoff from your gutters can create moisture around your home, leading to freezing and thawing in the soil – a major cause of frost heave. So take the time to evaluate your gutters and make the necessary repairs or upgrades to keep water safely away from your home’s foundation.
Keep Frost Heave at Bay by Upgrading your Drainage System
Proper drainage is critical in the fight against frost heave. The main culprit behind frost heave is excess moisture around your home. Although gutters help, they can only redirect water so far. Without proper drainage, the moisture will eventually soak into the ground around your home.
Consider French drain installation on your property to prevent frost heave from damaging your foundation. These systems can help to direct water away from your home and prevent it from seeping into the soil. Remember, taking preventative measures now can save you a lot of money from costly foundation repairs in the long run.
Encapsulate your Crawlspace to Minimize Frost Heave
Crawl space encapsulation is an effective way to prevent frost heave from damaging your foundation. A properly encapsulated crawl space will keep the temperature more consistent year-round and prevent moisture from seeping into the soil and causing frost heave.
Encapsulation involves installing a vapor barrier over the soil and walls of your crawl space and sealing off any vents or openings to prevent outside air and moisture from entering. With a properly encapsulated crawl space, you can rest easy knowing that your home’s foundation is protected from the damaging effects of frost heave.
Do Not Let Frost Heave Damage Your Foundation
As a homeowner, you know that protecting your foundation is crucial for the longevity and safety of your home. However, even with preventative measures, frost heave can damage the foundation.
Don’t wait until it’s too late; instead, contact the experts at Guardian Foundation Repair for a free 20-point basement inspection today. Our team of house foundation repair experts will assess the condition of your foundation and provide you with solutions to keep your home safe, secure, and moisture-free.
Let us help you protect your home for years by taking action against the effects of frost heave today!