You’ve seen the memes about the volatility of Midwestern weather. They’re funny because they are true. In fact, you probably remember times when the temperature fluctuated forty or fifty degrees within a few days.
While these extreme temperature fluctuations are fodder for jokes, the reality is that this weather wreaks havoc on basements and foundations. Here are some reasons that this type of weather pattern, combined with rain, ice, or snow, can be a recipe for disaster.
Concrete Expansion and Contraction
Concrete is a porous material. Water from ice or snow enters the concrete. When the water freezes, the pores expand. When it melts, the pores contract. These constant expansions and contractions cause small cracks to form.
The small cracks then cause more water to enter the home’s concrete foundation. This leads to more expansion, contraction, and trouble.
Frost heaves are the upward swelling of the water in the soil that forces the ground in various directions. This pressure from the soil on your foundation can damage it.
Frozen water pipes that burst cause water to enter the area quickly. Sometimes this broken pipe goes unnoticed for a time, and the water saturates the concrete and surrounding soil. This deluge of water will cause the area to expand and contract as it freezes and thaws.
How to Protect Your Foundation During Winter
Now that you understand how temperature volatility causes foundation problems let’s discuss things you can do to help keep your foundation healthy.
1. Keep your gutters clean.
Water from your roof must be able to drain appropriately, so you must have properly functioning gutters.
While you know that it’s essential to keep your gutters clean, many people fail to direct the water from the gutters away from the house. Make sure the downspout doesn’t empty into an indention directly at your home’s foundation. Instead, your downspout needs to extend away from your foundation.
2. Slope the soil away from your foundation.
The soil around your home should be sloping away from the foundation. This keeps water from saturating the ground near the concrete.
3. Insulate your pipes.
Insulating your pipes is one way to keep them from freezing. Also, don’t leave your home unheated during the winter – even while on vacation.
4. Make sure your sump pump is running correctly.
Is your sump pump running as it should? Check the drain of the sump pump on the outside of your home. Is it long enough to direct the water away from your home’s foundation?
5. Have a professional inspect your home’s foundation.
Are you concerned with the cracks on your foundation or in your basement? Before another winter comes and goes, have the professionals at JLB Foundation Repair and Basement Waterproofing inspect your home. They will help you develop a plan to keep your foundation healthy. If you are already showing signs of issues, our team will help you fix any damage that has occurred.
JLB Foundation Repair serves the KC Metro area. Call 816-656-6835 to schedule a consultation.