Foundation Damage Can Be A Big Risk In Winter

foundation repair solutions columbia fulton jefferson cityThe home is the biggest asset for most Americans.  And not surprisingly, a lot of planning and premeditation goes into the construction process – specifically when considering your home’s foundation:

•   Builders in Florida consider the state’s ill-famed hurricane season

•   California designers factor in earthquakes

•   Home builders in the mid Missouri area build foundations with tornadoes in mind

With changing weather patterns, this degree of preparation is not necessarily viable. Missouri, for instance, collected unprecedented quantities of rainfall throughout 2013.  In the vast majority of the worst hit cities such as Columbia, MO construction teams didn’t necessarily build home foundations with such intense flooding in mind.

And that’s just the rainy season.

Wintertime provides a whole new set of threats to your Jefferson City home’s foundation, with two of the biggest dangers being frost heaving and freezing pipes. Let’s check out these 2 common wintertime threats and then talk about budget-friendly solutions.

How Frost Heaving Results In Foundation Damage

Frost heaving occurs when top-level soils freeze and thaw, generating upward suction that draws more water – which in turn freezes and thaws even more. Over time, this frost cycle results in uneven pressure, creating shifts and cracks under your home’s foundation.

Silty terrain and soil with high water capacities are notably problematic since they do a bad job of draining the area around your property.  By comparison, grainier soils (sand, gravel, etc.) are less prone to frost heave since they’re a lot more porous. Sadly, Missouri homes in Columbia, Jefferson City, Moberly, Fulton, and Boonville are generally built on silty terrain.

How Pipe Freezing Can Harm Your Foundation

Your home’s foundation was created to last.  And in most cases, normal freezing is not a serious problem.  Your foundation may display concrete flaking or even splitting.  However these are reasonably rare. Much more common and dangerous is pipe freezing.  As ice inside the pipes expands, this might lead to bursting, creating lasting water damage to your home’s foundation.

The problem is most common in areas where:

•   Pipes are directly subjected to outside temperatures (i.e. exterior sinks and washrooms)

•   Pipes are indirectly exposed to outside temperatures (i.e. exposed crawlspaces below your home)

•   Outdoor faucets which are not adequately turned off during winter

After you know their causes, dealing with these two common threats becomes easier.

Techniques for Preventing Frost Heave

winter foundation repair missouri central MOEven though you cannot stop seasonal frosting, you can protect your home’s foundation by implementing better water drainage management. Popular solutions include:

•   Replacing surrounding soil with more porous alternatives

•   Burrowing top-level and underground reservoirs to reroute water from your home’s foundation

•   Insulating your home’s foundation to decelerate geothermal heat loss and reduce frosting before it takes place

Preventing Pipe Freezing

Protecting your foundation from pipe freezing is likely easier since you understand beforehand where prospective problems exist.  Here are a couple of the most common preventative steps you can take:

•   Shut off all uncovered water pipes during the wintertime when you’re not making use of them

•   Seal any leakages around pipes that enter your home to prevent cold air from leaking in

•   Insulate pipes in crawl spaces, attics, and outer walls

•   Make sure your home’s core temperature does not fall beneath fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit – even when you’re not around

Foundation Repairs May Still Be Necessary

The aforementioned steps are preventative measures that can dramatically lower the risk of home foundation failures.  But despite the presence of these precautions, it is not necessarily possible to lessen the risk one hundred percent. If your foundation does become volatile, you will have to contract a certified foundation repair team to repair the damage as soon as possible. To find out more about protecting your home’s foundation during the long winter or to educate yourself on how to repair damage once it's already occurred, contact Ram Jack of Mid-Missouri.


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