Reasons Why Your Foundation Wall Cracks During Winter

foundation wall cracks

Foundation Wall Cracks

Many people are concerned about their basements when Fall comes around. However, you should just be as concerned about the state of your basement in the winter as you are in the Fall. This is because the freezing temperatures of the winter months can cause a lot of damage to your foundation walls.

Frost Heaving

Science has proven that when water freezes it actually expands. This means the same volume of water will occupy a much larger space when it turns to ice. This characteristic of water is the reason for frost heaving.

Frost heaving occurs when water in the upper levels of the soil freezes. As the water in the top layers freezes, it draws more water. Because water expands when it freezes, the frozen soil will exert more pressure on the foundation walls as it seeks more space to occupy. This results in uneven pressure being exerted on the wall. Foundation wall cracks are therefore likely to form.

In many instances, the pressure against the foundation results in hairline cracks that aren’t readily recognizable in concrete foundations. If you have a block or stone wall, the cracks are likely to occur in the mortar joints.

If you don’t get your foundation some professional attention, the problems are only likely to get worse. Foundation wall cracks are likely to become larger over time. They are also likely to get worse when the cycle repeats itself in the next winter.

How to protect your foundation wall

You can’t prevent the winter from coming in. Neither can you prevent the water in the soil from freezing. The best approach to dealing with this problem is protecting your foundation.

  • Find a reliable contractor to help you determine the root cause of the cracks that you’ve noticed in your foundation wall. The only way to deal with a problem is to deal with the cause of the problem first.
  • Have your contractor install drain tile to guide water away from your foundation. This ensures that water does not collect near your foundation and therefore reduces the pressure against the foundation.
  • Insulate the foundation of your home to prevent heat loss. Insulating reduces the chances of frosting too.
  • Ensure that your landscape slopes away from your foundation. This prevents water from running towards your foundation.

Be sure to talk to a foundation waterproofing expert to ensure that all areas are covered.