Frost Heaving Can Damage Your Foundation
It’s easy to forget about the foundation of your home. Often we simply regard it as that huge, solid thing that the rest of the house sits on and don’t give it much thought beyond that. But foundations, as solid as they are, aren’t invulnerable and a combination of the changing of seasons and the passing of years can actually move your foundation in ways that can eventually lead to large scale, expensive damage. One of those ways is something called “Frost Heaving.”
Ice Moves Your Foundation
When your foundation was originally built, it was essentially a solid piece of concrete designed to fit perfectly and sit in the hole that was dug for it. Your home was then built on top of that, and as long as there were no dramatic changes to the landscape, the foundation would continue to act as a solid base for your home. However, the soil around the foundation can sometimes be a different story. Over the course of years, the winter can have a slow, transformative effect on the soil around your foundation. Water permeates the soil, making it wet, but when the temperature drops in the winter, that moisture turns to ice, and now the soil solidifies and expands, in the same way an ice cube in the freezer does. Given enough time, this freezing and expansion of the soil around the foundation can very slowly, in tiny increments, lift or move the foundation slightly. Over the course of many winters as different layers of soil freeze and expand, this can have a cumulative effect and move your foundation out of place, or simply create spaces around—or even below—your foundation that weren’t there before.
Once this happens, all that weight your foundation is bearing is now unevenly distributed and this can affect the entire home, causing some pieces to move or shift while others don’t. Eventually parts of the house can move in different directions from other parts, causing walls to crack, door and window frames to misalign and even cause steps leading up to your house to rise from the ground.
This is why it pays to occasionally inspect your foundation, or, better yet, have an expert like AA Action Waterproofing assess your foundation to find out if years of frost heaving—or any other environmental factors—may have compromised what is one of the most important literal cornerstones of your home experience.