How The Frost Line Affects Your Home's Foundation
We may be the experts in foundation repair, but we love to keep our community and the homeowners we work with informed as much as possible. The more we know and understand about our homes and the foundations beneath them, the more likely they are to last for generations to come. So with that in mind, today we're going to learn about frost.
Many homeowners hear the word “frost” and think about bringing their flowers or other potted plants indoors before temps dip below freezing.
While frost impacts landscaping and other elements outside the home, it can also have a big impact on your home’s foundation. Frost is essentially water in and around the ground that has turned to ice in cold temperatures. Fortunately for us here in New Hampshire, we don't have to deal with cold temps or frost. Just kidding.
So with frost, think of the thin layer of ice that covers solid surfaces like leaves or blades of grass.
What homeowners cannot see is the groundwater underneath their topsoil. This also freezes when temps are consistently cold enough. Soil freezes from the top down until it reaches the frost line – or the point where the soil will no longer freeze or be affected by outside temps.
When the water freezes, it expands in the soil. That means the soil surrounding a home or building expands and puts enormous pressure on foundation walls. The pressure can cause damage to basement walls, most often in the form of cracks along the frost line. The expanding ice in the soil can also damage concrete slab foundations, along with crawlspaces. Concrete may be strong, but so is mother nature.
The frost line can happen anywhere from a few centimeters below the soil surface to several feet below ground, depending on where you live. Of course the further north we get in New Hampshire, the colder it gets and the deeper the frost line.
The good news is, homeowners can take steps to protect their house from frostline damage by limiting the amount of water that gets into the soil around their home. Some ways to prevent excess water in the soil around your home may be;
- Using proper drainage systems
- Making sure no irrigation pipes are leaking
- Gutter systems draining well away from the home
But, if a homeowner is already seeing horizontal cracks along the frost line, it’s time to call in an expert. An experienced foundation repair contractor will have the tools to identify damage due to frost, along with the right wall repair products to fix the problem permanently. Homeowners need to be aware that the longer foundation issues go unfixed, the worse the problem is going to get.
How can you book a free inspection for your home's foundation? Reach out to Erickson Foundation Solutions today to get started.