During the winter, foundations exposed to the air can freeze the ground up to several feet below the surface–causing frost heave under homes, buildings, and under the pavement. This results in massive damage to structures and foundation issues.
Concrete Settlement During Winter
- Cracks in foundation walls;
- Cracks in slab floor;
- Sloping windows/doors;
- Jammed windows/doors.
Frost heaving is the movement of the soil due to the formation of ice lenses. Ice lenses are long crystals formed by layers of ice within the ground. The temperature doesn’t need to reach the freezing point for your foundation to be damaged. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees for three days in a row, the likelihood of foundation damage is high.
Frost heaving damages structures in two main ways:
- Cold temperatures cause ice to freeze beneath the concrete foundation;
- and the ground collapsing because of thawing ice lenses.
Varying Foundation Depth
When a foundation is supported by varying depths of soil, it is very likely that each area is going to settle a bit differently. This condition is typical when a shallow foundation is placed near a deeper basement foundation or on sloping lots. You may see long or larger cracks in these areas, as the depths may be quite different. The type of soil may also affect how the concrete settles over time because softer soils are very different to soils with clay or rocks, etc.
In many homes, especially older homes, underground waste piping and/or underground downspout piping can crack or break. Piping is more likely to fail during the winter because of the freezing temperatures. When this happens, the water leaks along the footing, softening the soil, causing the foundation to settle differentially.