#WinterWednesday: Snow Melt & Foundation DamageThe 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.