How Does Freezing and Thawing Affect Your Foundation

foundation cracking

Does the Weather Affect Your Foundation

Winter weather has finally arrived and Pittsburgh has already seen freezing temperatures. As the weather becomes colder with ice and snow on the horizon, it is time to think about how winter weather can affect your home.

Freezing and Thawing

A common issue that causes cracks in foundation is the freezing and thawing of water in the soil around your home's foundation. Concrete foundation is a porous material and when ice or snow freezes in the pores of your concrete foundation it will cause it to expand. When the ice and snow melt, it will then cause those areas that water crept into to contract. This can cause your foundation to deteriorate and over time by creating small cracks and crevices. Those cracks also get larger and larger as time passes, causing more problems with the stability of your foundation.


Excess Soil Moisture

Excess soil moisture is also a culprit of foundation damage. Soil can gain access moisture which may creep into your porous concrete foundation. Even if the moisture from the soil does not seep into your foundation, it can still cause foundation problems. When excess moisture builds up in the soil it causes the soil to expand. If this expansion is concentrated on one area of your foundation and not the entire foundation then problems can occur.

The expansion of the soil will cause movement that likely results in cracks in your foundation. In addition, during the winter months the melting snow can creep into those cracks causing additional problems. The water then is able to freeze and thaw inside those cracks as described above. So although excess soil moisture is a problem on its own, the freezing and thawing can exasperate the problem even further.

Loss of Soil Moisture

When soil around your homes foundation loses moisture it can cause the foundation to settle. The shrinking of the soil causes shifts in the foundation. Melting snow and ice or drought can cause this issue. Many believe that a loss of soil moisture is only common in the summer months. This is not the case. Soil can lose moisture any time of year and when this happens it can cause problems with your foundation. You can prevent loss of moisture by watering your lawn. If you see gaps or cracks in your soil, that is an indication that the soil is dry. If you do water your lawn, make sure not too overwater, as this could cause excess moisture buildup.

Checking Your Foundation

Freezing and thawing of your actual foundation walls or the soil beneath is a concern. Older homes are especially susceptible due to looser restrictions during the time the home was built. In addition, poor construction techniques are also to blame, such as building the foundation on unstable (too wet or too dry) soil, use of inexpensive concrete, or concrete that was mixed incorrectly.

A professional foundation repair company can inspect your foundation for issues caused by freezing and thawing. Contact Advanced Basement today to have your foundation inspected. Even if you do not see cracks or chips in your foundation, it is possible that you may still have unseen foundation issues. If you see cracks, chips or gaps, Advanced Basement can help you solve settling and foundation issues. Start the New Year off worry free. Contact us today!