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Block Foundations and Winter Weather

Think of a brick or block basement foundation as an additional floor, another story,  below ground, and is built with concrete walls. It typically goes well past below the frost line, which is the depth at which the groundwater in soil is expected to freeze in the winter. Winter weather can affect this foundation and knowing the signs of foundation problems early can be very beneficial because stopping the problem early is less expensive than ignoring it and letting it get worse over time. 


For example, if the fall months contain lots of rain, and if winter decides to come early, all of this groundwater can end up freezing and expanding. This can then push on the foundation walls and cause stair-stepping cracks in the mortar between the bricks or blocks. As the pressure continues, often a horizontal crack will appear midway on the wall. It will shift and move in, causing a bowing effect on the wall. Just like a poured foundation wall, stair-stepping cracks will appear in the brickwork outside if the problem is not solved. 


Effects of foundation problems can also appear inside the house's main level, including cracks on drywall. Windows or doors may not open properly, as they may stick or crack. In extreme cases where the foundation shifts or settles, drywall cracks will spread into the ceiling. So whether the foundation problem is settling or failing in poured, brick, or block foundation, knowing the warning signs will encourage you to seek a free estimate for repair!


Taking notice of the fall-to-winter weather changes can help identify problems that may occur with your home’s foundation, and watching out for warning signs and effects can help prevent future problems and restore peace of mind. So, next time there is heavy rain, walk around your house when it stops to make sure puddles of water are not standing close to the basement foundation. Give us a call if you see wall cracks inside or outside of your home!

 

 

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