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How Winter Weather Affects Your Homes Foundation

Foundation Shifting in Winter

When winter arrives, you probably prepare for it by confirming that your furnace is functioning properly. You might even insulate your plumbing pipes to prevent them from freezing, but have you considered your home’s foundation shifting? This area of your home is at risk from winter too because it’s more likely that the foundation will shift when it’s cold outside. Temperature effects on foundation can be an expensive repair. Fortunately, it’s one that you can usually avoid.  

Foundation Shifting 

A home’s foundation is underneath the ground, constructed in porous soil. When water is present, different kinds of soil expands and contracts at different frequencies. The foundation of a home can move at any time, but it’s more likely to happen when the temps are at their lowest. The reason for this is known as frost heave. It happens when the water surrounding and within the foundation expands from freezing. Snow melts and inundates the soil, which may result in overnight freezing. 

The soil that’s nearest your home will freeze at the top first, but the longer that the cold hangs around, the more time it has to infiltrate the soil, causing it to freeze at deeper depths. As the ground starts to freeze under the sections that are already frozen, the expanding water pushes its way up. The shrinking and expanding soil cycle that causes foundation shifting may result in damage. Soil doesn’t always push up. When soil is in confined spaces, it may spread to the sides. This is the action that causes your foundation to become damaged.  

Foundation Shifting in Winter 

Any pressure that your home’s foundation faces may result in its moving. When the foundation moves, structural damage may be the result inside and outside your home. You may see cracks in the walls or discover that some doors no longer close easily. Foundation problems announce themselves early by causing cracks at the places where your home’s interior walls meet the ceiling. The windows may become unstable by suddenly seeming to stick or failing to close completely and ceramic floor tiles may also develop cracks. 

A higher energy bill is another issue that may arise. This happens because a shifted foundation makes it easier for cold air to force its way into your home, which causes your heating system to work harder. If you notice that your energy bills are suddenly higher, you might want to make an appointment to have your foundation inspected. 

You can prevent your home’s foundation from shifting by installing waterproofing around it. Waterproofing will ensure that your home’s foundation won’t succumb to frost heave. If water is unable to reach the foundation, then you won’t have to worry about the foundation shifting in winter. 

Other ways to prevent water damage include cleaning out your home’s gutters. Be sure to complete this task regularly to prevent clogs from developing. Also, inspect the downspouts. They should be angled away from your home. Regardless of size, repair any foundation cracks that you spot including tiny ones as soon as possible. Even small, seemingly harmless cracks could cause foundation damage in the winter. It’s a good idea to have your foundation inspected regularly by a professional foundation company. You can avoid foundation problems due to cold weather by keeping your home’s core temperature higher than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will prevent pipes from freezing. 

Avoid Temperature Effects on Foundation 

Check your home’s landscaping. To avoid temperature effects on the foundation, adjust the soil so that it slopes away from the foundation at a level of 6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet. The foundation of your home is its main structural support. This means that it’s important to keep it in good shape regardless of the weather and avoid foundation shifting in winter. The earlier that you find and correct foundation damage, the better. You can prevent expensive foundation repair with regular maintenance and protective measures. If you need foundation repair or help with waterproofing, then contact us at Ground Up Foundation Repair.

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