Protecting your foundation from dampness and leaks can be a seemingly impossible task in St Louis, MO, especially now that the winter weather is becoming less and less predictable. These days it’s normal for the weather to shift from heavy snow to a sudden thaw within the week. This can lead to water pooling by your property’s foundation and refreezing, putting pressure on it.
How Winter Weather Can Cause Foundation Leaks
A little bit of water and ice may not seem like the most dangerous thing to deal with, but when it builds up by your property foundation, it can cause a lot of problems. The most common issues caused by frost and ice around your property perimeter are:
Foundation heave is a unique issue that can be caused by a number of problems, including tree root invasion, but the most common is frost heave. This occurs when snap freezes cause the top layer of soil to freeze solid before frost forms in lower layers. When these lower layers freeze, they expand and exert upward pressure. As a result, a property’s foundation can begin to bulge upward.
Water has a way of seeping into a property, especially when the foundation and basement walls are made of porous concrete. When extreme cold causes moisture to freeze even below the frost line, it can put excess pressure on your property’s foundation and cause cracks to open up, letting more water in when the thaw comes.
High levels of soil saturation around your home can be dangerous for your home at the best of times, but when winter comes around and that water starts to freeze and thaw repeatedly, it puts excess pressure on your basement walls. This hydrostatic pressure eventually leads to cracks in your property’s walls.
Each of these is a problem on its own, but the leaks that form as a result of them can cause even more damage. As such, it is important to take steps to protect your property.
5 Ways to Protect Your Property from Leaks This Winter
Protecting your property from dampness and damage this winter needn’t be difficult. In fact, in most cases, it is a matter of undertaking basic maintenance and protective work that does not require professional help. However, if you really want to take care of your home, you can also take some professional steps.
1. Clear and Prepare Your Yard
Protecting your foundation from damage and mid-winter leaks really comes down to moisture management. The soil in your yard could hold the key to protecting your property. Clearing away debris deposits, such as leaf piles, prevents potential soil saturation hotspots, for example. If you plan ahead, however, you could also control overall moisture management and soil stability by planting the right mix of flora.
2. Clear Your Gutters and Downspouts
External gutters and downspouts are incredibly important to your property’s ability to deal with heavy rainfall and snowmelt. However, in winter, your downspouts could actually increase the amount of ice pressing against your property foundation. As such, it is best to clear your gutters of debris and buildup and to put your downspouts up until spring.
3. Book Yearly Maintenance
Annual maintenance of your home’s plumbing system, HVAC appliance, and waterproofing equipment is all-important when it comes to keeping your property’s foundation leak-free. Your sump pump in particular is important when it comes to preventing water and ice from building up around your property and damaging your foundation.
4. Pile Snow Away from Your Perimeter
When the snow starts to fall, which can be quite early in St Louis, MO, you should add your property perimeter to your usual driveway shoveling. This may seem a little overzealous, but the sudden thaws that hit, particularly in early winter and spring, can lead to water pooling and refreezing by your home’s perimeter, thereby putting extra pressure on your foundation.
5. Consider Professional Waterproofing
Protective and preventative maintenance is all fine, but if you really want to protect your property and minimize the chance of damage to your foundation and mid-winter leaks, professional waterproofing with the right repair solutions is the best option.
Foundation Damage Requires Professional Help
If you notice leaks or cracks in your basement or foundation despite all your protective and preventive measures, it is time to call Foundation Recovery Systems for a free inspection. This kind of damage is incredibly dangerous and cannot be addressed without specialist tools and skills. In short, there is no safe way to undertake foundation repair alone.