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Old Man Winter vs Your Foundation

Weather is the number one cause of foundation problems and, although the weather in summer can have an impact on your foundation, the winter months can really take a toll on your structure.

foundation repair, winter, cold, freezingThere are a lot of things that can affect your foundation once the temperature drops. You probably don’t think about moisture much in the middle of January, but your soil is still dealing with the effects of water no matter the time of year. During the winter months, the soil will be soaking in moisture from snowstorms, melt-off, and even rain. The weather is getting more unpredictable every year: you may have a sub-zero day on Monday and then on Thursday, it’s in the 70s. Cold temperatures also keep the moisture in the ground, instead of it evaporating or being soaked into the soil. This excess water can cause the soil to expand, or heave, pushing against your foundation and causing it to crack or settle unevenly.

Most foundations in the Pennsylvania area are protected from winter temperatures, but when the weather gets extreme, you may find some problems. Frost doesn’t seem like much of a problem, other than being a nuisance when you have to clear your windshield, but it can really mess with your foundation. Frost heave is a term you may have heard of. This occurs when ice forms in the soil, causing the soil volume to increase, pushing against the foundation. It is hard to believe how much pressure expansive soil can put on a foundation’s walls or slab floor.

There are some things to look for during the winter to make sure your foundation isn’t being damaged. Here are some signs of foundation damage:

  • Wall cracks
  • Sticking doors or windows
  • Wet basement
  • Leaning chimney
  • Uneven floors
  • Cracks in slabs
  • Steps pulling away

If you come across any of these signs, you need to call a foundation repair specialist like Matthews Structural Solutions as soon as possible.

Protect Your Home

There are some things you can do to protect your home from the effects of winter weather. First, of course, make sure your home is winterized. Insulate rooms and pipes and use plastic on drafty windows. Keeping the heat inside your home will help keep your family and house safe from the elements while lowering your heating costs.

Some other things you can do to prepare and protect your home’s foundation are making sure your gutters and downspouts are clear and draining properly. Also, look to see if water is pooling up along your foundation. If you do find a low spot or water puddles against your house, mark the location and fix it when its dry or let us take care of it. Check outdoor water faucets and garden hoses and make sure they are off and not leaking. Turning a frozen faucet on in the middle of winter can cause the pipe to leak and you may not discover a problem until damage occurs.

If you take precautions around your home during the warmer temperatures, you won’t have to deal with it when it’s freezing out. That being said, we can work on your home and foundation anytime of the year and, depending on the repair needed, we may not even have to work outside. Contact our foundation experts today and learn more about our free inspection and quote and how we can keep your home dry and secure all year long.

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