After a hot and rainy summer, the switch to winter begins a common damaging process in the Midwest: freeze thaw. As temperatures fluctuate, especially from summer to winter extremes, it causes the water trapped in the soil around your foundation to expand and contract. This process puts pressure on the walls of a concrete foundation and over time, may begin to affect the structural integrity of the concrete.

While temperatures already affect concrete, it’s water that causes the most damage and it happens rapidly. Concrete is a porous material, and moisture will get into the material and cause cracks—especially when the soil is continuously damp. This is why it’s so important to solve water drainage problems first. While a flooded basement will cause its own issues in the form of ruined carpet and drywall, water sitting in and around a concrete foundation will cause structural damage.

How can homeowners maintain their foundation?

– Keep your gutters clear so they can direct water away from your home.
– Ensure your home has proper grading that diverts water away from the home. A foundation expert can help determine if your grading is adequate.
– Avoid large snow pileups around your home.
– Keep an eye out for any damage and if you suspect an issue, call sooner vs later for help.

While some cracks signal a bigger issue than others, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out by foundation experts. Cracks that continue to grow are warning signs things are getting worse and not better with your foundation.

If you have concerns about your foundation, Concrete & Foundation Solutions can help. We are proud to serve the Twin Cities area.