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How Winter Weather Affects Your Home Foundation

The foundation of the house is the most important part of its stability. As you know, foundations can be affected by many things. One of these things is the weather. Usually, summer weather has the most impact on concrete slab foundations as compared to other weather seasons, which have lesser effects. Summer weather and drought can be very damaging because the clay soils underneath will shrink in volume due to water and moisture loss. Here are the few things about how winter weather affects your home foundation.

Foundation Cracks

There are small hairline cracks throughout the year in your home's foundation and these are very common. However, these cracks can be accelerated because of the freezing weather that occurs in the winter. Excessive amount of pressure on the foundation walls is generated during the winter and this condition is known as frost-heave. It usually occurs when there is freezing and an expansion of the moisture in the soil around your home, which in turn adds lateral soil pressure on the foundation of your house. Large and small cracks can occur in the foundation due to this excessive pressure and this may weaken the structural integrity and may lead to mold growth, unwanted pests and seepage.

Hot, dry summer weather can literally remove the support under parts of a concrete foundation, usually the perimeter area. In areas where homes and commercial building are constructed upon clay soils this is a huge problem. Clay soils will heave because they absorb and lose water and their volume will increase and decrease correspondingly. This creates an annual process of soil movement that puts different pressures upon or under the concrete foundation. When the clay soils have lost significant moisture, and therefore volume, they will pull away from the foundation floor and beams and a portion of the foundation will literally crack and fall until it finds support.



Frozen Discharge Line

You must be wary of a frozen discharge line in the houses with a sump pump. Your basement or the crawlspace doesn't flood with water is ensured by the sump pumps. The excess water is allowed to flow from your home through the discharge line. However, if this line freezes in the winter and the water can not flow out then it may be forced back into the home. This chance of freezing can be decreased by ensuring that the discharge line is pitched at a downward slope and this prevents accumulation of water in the line.

Moisture and Water Seepage

Some foundations do not have any problems during the winter, but problems start to occur as soon as the snow starts to melt. Hence there is seepage of the excess water into the basement of your house due to the water building up in the surrounding soil. This seepage usually occurs through door or window frames, joints and cracks. In fact the water flowing into the basement signifies a greater level of damage to the foundation. Some of the symptoms of water seepage into the basement of your house are rust and pest infestation, musty or damp odors, paint peeling and dark staining.

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