We’ve written several articles about home maintenance tips for spring as well as how to prevent basement flooding. Our crawl space and basement waterproofing company in Raleigh wanted to go deeper and look at how ice damage to your foundation over the winter can lead to moisture problems this spring.
Causes of Ice and Frost Damage to Your Foundation
In Raleigh, we’re fortunate to have fairly mild winters compared to the rest of the country, but it’s not uncommon for the temperatures to dip well below freezing, and the freeze goes to between eight and nine inches below the surface. This can lead to frost heaving and ice lenses which can damage a concrete foundation, causing cracks and voids that allow water in.
So, what are frost heaves and ice lenses?
When it gets below freezing, moisture within the soil freezes, causing the soil to swell upwards from the frost line as well as laterally. This upward and outward expansion is called a frost heave, and as it expands, it can press onto the walls of your foundation or basement, leading to shifting and cracking. The more moisture within your soil, the more severe the frost heaving will be, and the more pressure will be placed on your foundation.
Ice lenses are forms of ice that develop when moisture within soil or rock accumulates in one spot and freezes. When an ice lens forms within rock, concrete, or asphalt, it will cause cracks to widen and grow. In soil, the ice lenses add additional pressure to frost heaves.
The Danger to Your Foundation from Ice and Frost
Frost heaves and ice lenses can cause serious damage to your foundation in a short period of time. The cracks caused by the external pressure or from ice that forms in small voids in the concrete allow water to seep through the wall and into your basement or crawl space. When the moisture thaws, the foundation settles back down, widening cracks even further. By spring, you can be dealing with major moisture and mold problems and not realize that your problems came from too much ice in the soil during the winter.
Preventing Ice Damage to Your Foundation
The best way to prevent soil freezing and ice lenses around your home is to minimize the amount of water and moisture present in the soil near your foundation. Less moisture means less ice, which leads to less expansion toward your foundation.
Here are some simple ways to minimize moisture around your home:
Check Your Water and Downspouts
One of the most important things you can do is direct water far away from your home. Make sure your gutters are clear so rain water can run smoothly to the downspouts. At the end of the downspout, add an extender to direct runoff to 10 feet away from your home.
Wood chips and mulch aren’t just for summer gardening. It can actually help insulate and regulate the soil to minimize freezing around your home and slow down the rate of moisture that seeps into the soil around your foundation.
Repair Cracks Immediately
Any cracks in your foundation can collect water which can freeze, expand, and cause additional damage. Grab some caulk and begin sealing and repairing any cracks, voids, or damage in your foundation.
Call About Crawl Space and Basement Waterproofing in Raleigh Today
The number one thing you can do to prevent moisture problems in your home is have professional waterproofing for your crawl space and basement. This eliminates the opportunity for water, mold, and moisture from entering your home and ends the issues related to hydrostatic pressure that forces water under the home and coming up through the bottom of the basement. To schedule a consultation, reach out to us today at (919) 847 7072 or fill out the form below.