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Will Frost-Heaving Damage Your Home’s Foundation?

Some foundation repair companies are often called up just to explain how this winter season can damage the foundation of your home. During the winter months, do not assume that your house is already free from the winter’s harm.  

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Can the Frost Heave Harm Your Home’s Foundation? 

Of the countless types of damages that may come to your home’s foundation during winter, the frost heave may be the most destructive. The frost heave occurs when the freezing temperatures pass through the ground which cause the subsurface water to form into ice structures which displace the soil along that rests in or on it. As a matter of fact, it was once believed that this frost heave happens due to the expansion of the water as it freezes however, the process is basically more complex, involving not just expansion because of freezing but also the building up of some extra layers of ice as the water is backed up from underneath the frost lines. Aside from that, the depth to which the freezing temperatures pass through the ground is known as the frost front or the freezing plane. 

 When the freezing temperatures pass through the ground, the water that is trapped in the soil forms crystals along the freezing plane. As it solidifies, water expands by approximately 9 percent. In addition to that, the freezing process makes the surrounding soil dry, drawing the unfrozen water from underneath the freezing plane through vapor diffusion or capillary action. The water that have formed like ice crystals thicken and create an ice lens. 

 The traditional approach to the layout of the foundations to prevent the frost damage is to put the foundation above the depth of the expected utmost frost penetration so that soil under the surface will not freeze. Thus, this measure alone doesn’t basically prevent the frost damage.  

What Elements are Necessary for Frost Heave? 

The following are the 3 needed elements for frost heave: 

1. Water 

2. Subfreezing temperatures 

3. Frost susceptible soil 

 Remove just one out of these 3 elements and the frost heaving shall at least be minimized or eliminated. 

The following are some additional factors that affect the degree of the frost heave: 

1. Soil condition and type such as structure, texture, density, etc. 

2. Depth of water table 

3. Permeability of the soil and the mobility of the water 

4. Temperature Gradient 

5. Rate of heat removal 

What are the ways in order to control the frost heave? 

There are a lot of ways to control heave: 

1. Piers and Footings – The code mandates that the support structures either be protected by insulation or extend below the frost line so that the soil is not expose to freezing, thus, heaving.  

2. Patios, Driveways and Walkways – The occurrence of the frost heave may be minimized by the replacement of the frost-susceptible soil with granular material which is not expose to heaving.   

3. Basements – Frost heave can critically damage the basement if the surface surrounding it freezes to the walls. If this is the case, you need to contact a professional foundation repair Orlando FL

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4 Obvious Foundation Damage Signs That You Can Spot

The foundation is prone to tear, sink, upheave and settle overtime especially if the soil condition surrounding it is not great. There are many reasons why a foundation gets cracked or sunk, but most of them are natural elements. If you’re not sure where to look at, call a professional of foundation repair College Station TX. In this article, we will show you some obvious signs of foundation damage that you might have noticed but didn’t think that it’s linked to foundation. Here are some of them. 

  1. Gaps Around Exterior Doors and Window Frames 

Homeowners often notice some spaces around the exterior window frames and doors. Most of them just neglect them. If you notice the same way, and sometimes your door don’t even latch, it’s a sign of foundation damage. If there’s really an issue, notice how your double door works. If they are not properly aligned, they are difficult to close. If you have these issues, don’t neglect them. This can be rooted back to the foundation.  

  1. Uneven or Sagging Floor 

If the floor appears to be sagging or out of level, dipping or bowing, it’s an indication that you have foundation problems. When foundation problems impact the beam and pier, the floors have the tendency to squeak and sag. If you have concrete slabs, it has the tendency to be out of level. In fact, they are more affected than the pier and beam foundation because they are positioned directly on the ground.  

You should never neglect this because it’s a potential hazard for elderly people and children who are handicapped. From being out of level by ½, it will turn into by 1 ½ or even 2. Surely, you wouldn’t like dangers like this, so have it professionally checked.  

  1. Damp Crawl Space 

Heavy moisture in this area is an indication that you have issues with your foundation and that they will develop soon. That’s why it’s important to check the crawl space and determine where the moisture comes to minimize it. Moisture can attract mold and termites and will rot the wooden beams. The moisture also creates a musty and foul odor that’s not good for your health when inhaled.  

If you have a poor drainage system, then fix that. If you live in an area where flooding occurs or rains heavily, a drainage system will really help. Standing water around the foundation will also damage the foundation.  

  1. Cabinets and Counters Separating From the Wall 

If you notice that the countertops and kitchen cabinets are pulling and tilting away from the wall, don’t just neglect those. It’s a sign that you have issues on your foundation even if it looks like they just moved a bit. If you don’t pay attention to it, the next thing you know the cabinets have moved 1/8” from the wall.  

If you’re aware at this, there are issues on your foundation that should be checked. If the walls are out of level, other things attached to it would be out of level too. Something is causing them to be uneven, have them checked.