Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 by Haley Tepool
One main enemy of a home is water, mainly because it causes damage. In Southern Indiana, we are now at that point of the year where the temperature varies by dozens of degrees each day. This doesn’t just wreak havoc on your daily life, it could also be messing with your home.
Here at Healthy Spaces, we want our customers to understand how frost heave can damage your foundation, and what you can do to prevent it.
What is frost heave?
It starts with ice developing in the soil above the frost line. The soil then shifts or “heaves” in response to frost, or moisture content. One of the best examples is if you put a water bottle in the freezer and forget about it. Before you put it in there, you could crush it, bend in the sides, and see the water move around. After you pull the frozen water bottle out of the freezer, you notice that it has turned to ice and the plastic has expanded to its maximum compacity, not allowing any room for movement. This pushing force is like a frost heave.
This "freezing" expansion moves the soil to make room, and like most of nature, the soil follows the path of least resistance. If the expanding soil is surrounding your foundation, the concrete might be that path; concrete doesn’t seem like a low-resistance material but compared to the earth’s natural forces? It’s nothing.
From here, soil presses on your foundation wall, exerting pressure and eventually causing a crack. If your foundation already has a visible crack, this will just make it worse.
When the sun begins to shine and the frost turns into water, the soil sinks back into place, making gaps where the frost once was.
So what can you do?
Of course, you don't control mother nature, so you can't stop the frost. What you can do, though, is be observant of your home.
With that, if you currently have water in your basement or crawl space, call us for an inspection so we can recommend the best solution. Not only is water a problem, but it also indicates future problems with your home's foundation, so it’s best to get it taken care of right away. If you do see signs of cracks or wall movement, the best thing you can do is call us. While we can’t stop the soil from doing what it wants to do, we can stabilize your walls against future movement and protect your home.
Click here to schedule your free inspection.