How Does Frost Heave Cause Damage To Foundations And How Can The Damage Be Repaired?

During the winter, you should always look out for frost heave damaging your home's foundation. Soil freezing underneath your home can cause your foundation to shift upwards, which causes a substantial amount of damage to it. Repairing the damage requires installing piers around your home in order to raise your foundation until it's level again. To learn more about the damage that frost heave can cause to your foundation and how you can fix it, read on.

What Is Frost Heave?

Frost heave occurs when water-saturated soil underneath your home's foundation freezes. As the water freezes, it expands, and this places a considerable amount of upward pressure on your home's foundation — it can even lift a portion of your foundation by several inches. The shift in your home's foundation can cause the concrete slab to crack, making it structurally unstable. Frost heave damage most commonly occurs when a sudden cold snap follows a period of heavy rain since that's when the soil underneath of your home is most saturated with water.

How Do You Know If Frost Heave Has Damaged Your Foundation?

If frost heave has shifted your home's foundation, you'll likely have trouble opening doors and windows — the shifting foundation pulls doors and windows out of frame, so they won't open or close as easily. You may also be able to see visible cracks in your home's foundation, which are caused when the frost heave pushes up one area of the concrete slab more than the rest, causing the concrete to crack. Frost heave pushing up on your foundation can also cause your floors to become sloped.

How Do You Repair A Foundation That's Been Damaged By Frost Heave?

If you think that your foundation has been damaged by frost heave, call a foundation contractor and have it inspected. Frost heave damage is fixed by drilling piers into the soil. The piers are attached to your home's foundation in order to raise it upwards. Piers pull up your foundation until it's level with the area that was raised by the frost heave, and they also provide additional stability by anchoring your foundation firmly into the soil.

In addition to lifting your foundation with piers, you'll also need to prevent frost heave damage from occurring again by improving the drainage on your property. Adding French drains around the perimeter of your foundation, for example, will divert water away from the soil underneath your home — this prevents it from becoming saturated and freezing during a cold snap, which leads to frost heave damage.

Overall, frost heave is one of the most common ways that foundations become damaged during the winter. If you notice signs of foundation damage after a cold snap, call a foundation contractor to have your home inspected — fixing damage caused by frost heave by adding foundation piers will level out your foundation again and restore its structural stability.

For more information, reach out to a foundation contractor near you.