As your local foundation waterproofing and repair specialists, we see the effects of frost heave on area properties every winter. From gaps that allow water into your basement to the formation of cracks that weaken the entire foundation, frost heave represents a danger to properties that only increases as temperatures drop. Let’s take a look at what it is, how to identify when you’re facing it, and the best way to prevent frost heave from damaging your property before it even has a chance to get started.
What is Foundation Frost Heave?
Your home’s foundation sits in a bowl of soil that expands and contracts as water permeates it. While too much water at any time can cause foundation problems, freezing temperatures exacerbate the issue. As water freezes and ice crystals form, they expand. This expansion pushes against the walls and floor of your foundation. As pressures rise, the packed-in soil offers no room for expansion. The eventual release of these forces in the form of frost heave can be devastating.
Identifying the Conditions That Create Frost Heave
The soil conditions that can lead to foundation frost heave are best identified before temperatures drop below freezing. Since it’s directly related to water accumulation around your foundation, signs of poor drainage in the summer and fall can warn you that your home may be at risk come winter.
- Pooling Water Around the Foundation – When water is pooling around the foundation of your property, it’s a sign that your drainage is not moving excess moisture away from the house. Left to stand, this moisture soaks into the ground, directly surrounding your foundation walls or underneath your basement floor. While dry summer heat may save you from seepage, it won’t be around to protect you from pooling winter precipitation or snow melt.
- Seepage Into Your Basement – Water seeping into your basement through cracks or joints is a danger sign that the soil around your foundation is already saturated, and it could indicate your foundation has already been damaged by the extra weight pressing against it. Anytime you have leaking cracks in your foundation, professional inspection and repair are needed to assess the damage and repair your property before it gets worse.
- An Overworked Sump Pump – While active drainage measures like an electric sump pump should be in place to help move water out and away from your home, a pump that never shuts off or seems to catch up to the seepage can indicate there’s a bigger problem to be aware of. Your drainage may be blocked or could no longer be sufficient to protect your property.
- Damaged, Overflowing Gutters or Downspouts – Damaged gutter and downspout systems can mean big problems in the winter. In addition to increasing the risk of ice dam formation, they could be depositing water and runoff directly into the soil surrounding your home, increasing the risk of frost heave when temperatures drop below freezing.
If you noticed any of these signs of soil saturation this fall, now is the time to contact a professional to help prevent frost heave from leaving your home on shaky ground this winter.
Preventing Foundation Frost Heave
Professional waterproofing will go a long way toward reducing your home’s risk of frost heave damage. An experienced professional will inspect the property for leading risk factors, develop a plan that prevents further damage, and begin the restoration process to restore the foundation’s integrity if existing damage is found.
- Improved Drainage – The most important part of preventing frost heave is ensuring the land surrounding your foundation has adequate drainage to move water away from the home, where it can return to natural drainage sources safely, even as temperatures fall. This can include grading the landscape, installing french drains, and ensuring your home’s gutters and downspouts are clear, in good repair, and protected to prevent debris from entering and clogging the system.
- Foundation Repair – Cracks in your foundation’s walls and floor can create weak spots more easily damaged by freezing soil. Cracked, bowed, or leaning walls should be repaired and anchored as needed to restore their integrity.
- Comprehensive Waterproofing – Foundation waterproofing helps eliminate the risk of seepage that can attract pests, damage your personal property, or lead to mold proliferation. Your foundation professional will work to not only repair and seal areas where water can seep in but also ensure your sump pit is sufficient for drainage and your pump is in good repair to actively move water out and away from your home.
The result is a property that’s better prepared for the moisture and harsh freezing temperatures of a Pennsylvania Winter.
Request Your Free Inspection
There’s no cost or obligation to take the first step in protecting your foundation from frost heave. Our free inspection lets an experienced foundation professional take a look at your property firsthand. They’ll talk to you about any warning signs you’ve seen and check your property’s drainage and waterproofing themselves. You’ll be given a written estimate that covers any potential repairs needed to restore your foundation’s integrity, the waterproofing needed to keep your home safe, and preventative services that may go even further to reduce your risk of frost heave now and in the future.
With decades of experience protecting the homes of your friends and neighbors, we’ve built our professional reputation using American-made products and services backed by a lifetime guarantee. Get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your property is safe from frost heave this winter. Schedule your free visit from A.M. Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.