If you live in a cold climate with freezing temperatures, cold weather can have a major impact on your concrete foundation. When the ground freezes and melts, it causes the soil to heave and contract. This is called the frost heave cycle. Ultimately, this cycle can have a major negative impact on your foundation because it causes instability in the soil.
Serious foundation problems caused by cold weather conditions and frost heave can be dangerous and expensive to repair. Unfortunately, foundation damage can occur even before the temperature reaches the freezing point. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees for three consecutive days, the likelihood of foundation damage increases.
So what is frost heaving and why is it destructive? Frost heaving is caused by freezing temperatures that can damage structures in two ways.
Both could affect structures causing vertical ground movement, shifting foundations, unlevel foundations, and cracks in the structure. Foundation walls, floors, footings, retaining walls, slab pavements and other structures can be seriously affected.
So how does frost heave happen? In order for frost heave to occur, there must be freezing temperatures, water, and frost-susceptible soil. All three conditions must be present. The process involves the following steps:
Frost heave is an act of nature, therefore it cannot be totally eradicated. However, it can be prevented. Frost heaving mainly occurs in low-lying areas in the ground where there are depressions or dips. In order to prevent frost heaving, reduce the amount of water in the soil to prevent freezing from occurring by combining the soil with compost. Also, apply mulch into the soil to help regulate the temperature in the ground. There are also other methods of preventing heaving such as:
There are a variety of methods used by foundation contractors. Find the best preventative method for your property to eliminate the effects of frost heave. If you have visible damage caused by frost heaving in your concrete foundation, contact a foundation repair professional to assess your damages. They will determine the cause and provide the best repair method for the situation.