January 2018 - Carolina Foundation

Jan 24
#WinterWednesday: Snow Melt & Foundation Damage

The 2018 winter welcomed the Carolinas with snow as a result of the “bomb cyclone” that swept the East Coast. While heavy rains are the most common cause of foundation water damage, snow melt can be just as detrimental. As the snow melts, water accumulates and finds its way into cracks in and around your foundation. When the temperature drop again, the water in the cracks freezes, which causes these cracks to grow even larger. Moreover, when moist soils become frozen added pressure is put on your foundation walls also causing cracks to grow bigger. These horizontal cracks resemble stair steps that worsen over time and require professional repair to maintain the structural integrity of the residence or building.

The key to making sure your home or building can withstand winter weather is to protect the exterior. Outdoor maintenance tasks that can protect your foundation include:

  • Gutters:  Make sure gutters are clear of debris to ensure water can drain through a downspout. Make sure downspouts drain at least 10 feet away from the house or building.
  • Roof: Shovel snow carefully off your roof and around the perimeter of your home or building to prevent it from sogging down your foundation when it melts.
  • Landscaping: Make sure trees are at least 15 feet away from your home or business. Make sure the landscape immediately surrounding your home or business slopes downward to direct water away from the foundation. If this is not possible, consider installing a French drain or another drainage system to keep your foundation dry.
  • Waterproofing: Consider waterproofing the lowest level of your home in addition to the foundation. When grounds freeze in winter, the frozen soil cannot absorb the amounts of water and that water will find somewhere else to go possibly leaving you with a wet basement or damp crawlspace.

Protect your biggest investment from the winter weather by calling Carolina Foundation Solutions to schedule a FREE consultation for visit bit.ly/CFSConsult.

Jan 10
#WinterWednesday: Frost Heave and Foundation Damage

frost heave foundation damage

The new year welcomed the South with a chilly blow of record low temperatures and winter storm conditions with rare snow falls happening along the east coast in Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA and Tallahassee, FL, where residents saw snow for the first time in nearly 30 years. Meteorologists called the uncharacteristic weather patterns a “bomb cyclone” due to the fast atmospheric pressure drop. With freezing temperatures brings the potential detriment of frost heave. Frost heave occurs when water from unfrozen soil is drawn to a freezing zone and attaches to layers of ice which forces soil particles apart causing the soil surface to heave and displacing structures that rest upon it.

Conventional foundation design aims to prevent frost damage by placing footings beyond the depth of the expected frost penetration, however, if during excavation the area is backfilled with frost-susceptible soil it may lead to damage from adfreezing. Adfreezing occurs when two objects are bonded together by ice formed between them. Frost heave and foundation settlement can be difficult to distinguish from one another since both types of moving cause similar cracking.

Evidence of frost heave:

  • Broken edges of cracked sections of concrete
  • History of poor site drainage
  • Absent evidence of backfill at a poured concrete structure, such as a garage slab with a crack across the width of the site near the entry.

Winterizing steps to avoid foundation problems:

  • Backfilling footings with gravel to aid in drainage
  • Using clean sand and gravel under floor slabs for insulation to reduce frost penetration
  • Replacing fine-grain, frost-susceptible soil with coarse-grained material not susceptible to heaving help prevent foundation damage from frost heave.

While the Carolinas typically experience mild winters, this should not instill a false sense of security in homeowners and business owners that they are spared from winter damage. Protect your biggest investment from the winter weather by calling Carolina Foundation Solutions to schedule a FREE consultation for visit bit.ly/CFSConsult.


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