During the winter, the moisture in the soil is depleted, so the ground underneath your home will contract and shift. This shifting in the soil will leave room for your foundation to settle unevenly. Furthermore, it can exert a lot of pressure on your foundation, which could bend and start to develop cracks. Once spring returns, heavy rain can worsen existing foundation damage and cause new problems that may affect your entire home. The good news is that you can protect your home’s foundation from winter weather and prevent damage with a few simple steps. These are:
Fix Existing Foundation Damage
The first thing you need to do to get your foundation ready for winter is make sure there’s nothing presently wrong with it. During the summer, many things might have had a negative effect on your foundation. For instance, prolonged drought followed by heavy rain might have affected your drainage system and caused cracks to form in the ground underneath your home and even in the foundation. Other factors could have led to additional foundation problems that might not be visible yet.
So, if you observe any issues, such as standing water around your property, mold growth in the crawlspace or on the lower areas of your walls, damaged insulation, bowing walls, sagging or bouncy floors, and/or sticking windows and doors, make sure that you have your foundation inspected by an experienced professional as soon as possible. Besides identifying current foundation problems and suggesting any repairs necessary, an experienced professional will also be able to indicate areas of your home that may be susceptible to winter damage.
Keep the Moisture Content of the Soil around Your Foundation Consistent
The easiest way to prevent the ground around your home from drying out, cracking, and shifting is by installing a soaker hose or an in-ground sprinkler system around the foundation. When placing the soaker hose or sprinkler system, there are 2 things to remember:
- Don’t install the system too close to the foundation. Because you want to keep the soil moist and not the foundation, make sure that you place the soaker hose or sprinkler system about 18 inches away from the foundation. Watering the foundation instead of the ground around your home could cause excess moisture to accumulate in the concrete and crawlspace. Over time, too much moisture could lead to mold growth, dry rot, and pest infestations.
- Water less frequently than you do during the summer. To avoid foundation damage, experts recommend watering the area around the foundation throughout the year. But even though winter droughts can be just as problematic for a Houston foundation as those in the summer, a good rule of thumb is to water the soil around your home less frequently during the winter than during the summertime.
Enclose Your Crawlspace
Crawlspace enclosure is known to bring along a series of advantages, including better indoor air quality, lower moisture content, which will decrease the likelihood of mold growth and pest infestations, and more consistent temperatures, which can translate into a more comfortable indoor environment and lower energy bills.
Considering all these benefits, if your crawlspace isn’t already enclosed, now is the time to do it. When enclosing your crawlspace, adding insulation and waterproofing is key to preventing damage that may result in costly repairs later on.
Insulate Your Pipes
Although the Houston area and nearby locations generally experience mild winters, sometimes the temperature drops below freezing. When that happens, the water lines running into your home can freeze and burst. Because a broken water line can go undetected for months and lead to costly foundation repairs, ensuring that any exposed water lines and pipes are in good condition and protecting them with some form of insulation before winter arrives could help you prevent water damage from frozen pipes. When the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, make sure that you also unhook your soaker hose or turn off the water valve to the sprinkler system and drain the hose and/or sprinkler system to eliminate the possibility of water freezing inside and damaging the hose/sprinkler.
Whether the elements have already taken a toll on your home’s foundation, or you just want to make sure that your home and foundation are in good condition before winter comes, it’s important to consult a foundation repair professional without delay. At Allied Foundation, our highly trained foundation repair specialists are ready not only to provide a fast and free foundation evaluation and estimate but also take care of any repairs required so that you can rest assured knowing that your home is ready for winter. Contact Allied Foundation today to schedule your free foundation inspection and estimate in Houston or in any of the neighboring cities that we service!