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Common Foundation Problems in Winter

Homes can suffer from foundation problems brought about by the snow, ice and sleet present during cold winter days. Homeowners need to know how these problems start and how they can be prevented in order to protect their home and avoid spending too much on repairs.

Advantage Seamless Gutters shares a quick look at some common foundation problems during winter, what causes them, and how they can be prevented.

Foundation Problems

You know your home has some foundation problems when you spot these signs or symptoms:

  • Doors that don’t have issues begin to jam or fail to latch;
  • Windows that are perfectly fine suddenly get stuck or won’t completely close;
  • Cracks appear over doorways, windows and areas where the wall meets the ceiling;
  • Cracks appear in ceramic or vinyl tiles that are installed over concrete floors

These problems are caused by water or moisture that may come through the following:

  • Freezing pipes

Freezing temperatures can cause water pipes to become frozen and crack, resulting in leaks. Frozen pipes can leak as much as 250 gallons of water per day as a minimum.

  • Frost heaves

The ice lenses that form in the ground on account of freezing temperatures cause the frozen ground to move. The ground also moves when the ice lenses thaw in warmer temperatures. The frost damages the pavement in this way.

  • Shifts in the ground

The varying winter temperatures cause moisture to freeze and thaw. This process of freezing and thawing causes the ground to shift between four to eight inches. The changes in the ground, as well as the varying water and soil conditions can cause cracks in the foundation’s structure.

Prevent these problems by doing the following:

  • Cleaning your gutters

Gutters should always be kept clean and clog-free. Seamless gutters are easier to clean and allow snow and ice melt to flow into the downspout without any obstruction. Downspouts should also be clog-free and able to direct water away from the house structure.

Your home will also benefit from using half-round gutters instead of K-style gutters, as these do not have as much nooks and crannies where dirt, debris and snow can gather, unlike the latter.

  • Protect structures

Make sure to have a footing depth that measures at least 30 inches. This will help ensure that frost won’t affect structures. Furthermore, you should also look into reducing frost penetration, to make sure that soil in the freezing zone isn’t vulnerable to frost, or that water isn’t present in the freezing zone

  • Prevent pipes from freezing or bursting

Keep your home’s core temperature higher than 55 degrees fahrenheit. You should also insulate your exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

Are you in need of professional gutter installation or repair? Get in touch with Advantage Seamless Gutters for quality work. Call us at (218) 270-5454 or fill out our contact form for a free estimate. We serve clients in Alexandria and Bemidji, MN.

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