How Does Winter Weather Affect My Home’s Foundation?

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Scraping ice from your car, shoveling snow from the driveway and higher cost of heating are just a few negative aspects that homeowners have to deal with during the winter months. Did you know, however, that winter can take a damage toll to your home’s foundation and may even leave you with a costly repair bill. Thanks to foundation repair experts in San Antonio TX, knowing the negative impacts and how to safeguard your home from them will help protect your home’s foundation from permanent or long-term damage. 

Cracks in Foundation

Small hairline cracks in your home’s foundation are a common occurrence throughout the year. However, the freezing weather that occurs in the winter can accelerate these cracks. Frost-heave is a condition that occurs during the winter that causes excessive amounts of pressure on the foundation walls. It occurs when moisture in the soil around your home freezes and expands, which adds lateral soil pressure to the foundation. This excessive pressure can cause large and small cracks to appear in your foundation, which weakens its structural integrity and lead to seepage, unwanted pests and mold growth. 

Discharge Line Frozen

In homes with a sump pump, you must be wary of a frozen discharge line. Sump pumps are vital to ensuring your crawl space or basement doesn’t flood. The discharge line allows the excess water to flow from your home. If, however, this line freezes, the water is forced back into the home. Ensuring the discharge line is pitched at a downward slope prevents water from resting inside the line and decreases the chance of it freezing. 

Water Seepage and Moisture

In some cases, foundation problems won’t arise until the snow begins to melts and that excess water building up in the soil against your foundation starts to seep into your basement via cracks, joints and door or window frames. The symptoms associated with seepage problems can appear before water begins flowing into the basement and — in fact — water flowing into your basement is a sign of an advance stage of foundation damage. Dark staining, paint peeling, musty or damp odors, rust and pest infestation are all signs of a possible water seepage problem in your basement.

Foundation Maintenance

Properly maintaining your home’s foundation can help minimize the effects that the winter weather can do. Use epoxy glue — or a similar product designed to repair concrete cracks — to repair hairline cracks after you have cleaned them out. Furthermore, maintain a consistent and proper moisture level in the basement to help ensure a strong foundation. Just as too much moisture in the soil can cause foundation problems, so can dry, shrinking soil. One way to prevent problems associated with soil moisture is to install a rock bed about 18- to 24-inches out from the foundation. The rock beds allow water to penetrate deep in the soil and help prevent foundation problems associated with dry soil.

Furthermore, making sure your downspouts and gutters are functioning properly helps to maintain a solid foundation. The North American Retail Hardware Association provides a helpful guide to repairing downspouts and gutters. Gutters and downspouts help to direct water away from the home and reduces the chance of moisture and seepage problems.

Foundation repair may appear as a dense subject for homeowners. Nonetheless, it’s an important thing to watch out for to keep your home at its best condition. 

Stablelift Foundation Repair specializes in home foundation stablization. Readers with more questions about this topic can get in touch with the experts by visiting

Sarah Pinkerton

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