Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 by Delfino Gonzalez
Most of us likely cringe when we hear the word winter. There are many reasons why winter can be less than enjoyable, such as having to shovel, cleaning our cars off every morning, and of course the dreaded heating bill. Even in Alaska, where temperatures range from just above freezing to only the mid-60s, residents might be used to the cold weather, but freezing temperatures can certainly take a toll on a home’s foundation. It’s important to be aware of the signs of foundation damage, and to call a professional at the first sight of a crack or other issues. Fixing the problem as soon as you see it can help prevent permanent, long-term damage to your home.
Small foundation cracks are common but thanks to winter and a condition called frost heave, these cracks can become larger. Frost heave occurs when moisture in the soil freezes and puts enormous amounts of pressure against your foundation walls. In areas with colder temperatures, like Alaska, the soil will freeze deeper down. The upward pressure can easily cause your foundation to crack or make existing cracks bigger. Cracks caused by soil movement and soil pressure are generally horizontal cracks or stair-step cracks. Horizontal cracks can get larger and leak water. These cracks often get worse over time and require structural repair. Cracks in the foundation can weaken the structural integrity of your home and make it susceptible to moisture, water seepage, and mold.
When snow and ice begin to melt, this can cause even more foundation problems. Water from the melting snow enters the soil around your home and can seep into your basement through cracks in the walls or floor, leaky basement windows or doors, or the joint where the floor meets the wall. Early symptoms of water seepage include dark stains, musty odors, peeling paint, and rust.
It’s important to make sure your basement has proper drainage to help direct water away from the foundation. Gutters that aren’t installed properly or that are clogged with debris can lead to water spilling over the edge of the gutters, ending up right next to the foundation. This water can eventually make its way into your home, even through small foundation cracks.
Common repair solutions for foundations damaged by upheaval include soil stabilization and the use of helical piers to support the foundation and prevent future heaving. Helical piers help transfer the weight of your home into competent supporting soil that is below the frost or freezing level.
Foundation Supportworks of Alaska has access to proven industry-leading structural repair products. Ice and melting snow can cause serious foundation problems and extensive water damage in your basement, but Foundation Supportworks of Alaska can quickly and effectively repair foundation cracks and foundation damage from frost heaving, and help protect your biggest investment from the wrath of winter. Foundation Supportworks of Alaska provides free written estimates for all of their foundation services throughout Greater Anchorage and the surrounding area.