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Education Center

Frost Heave and Bowing Walls

The snow and ice is piling up outside, and it’s only a matter of time before our homes start to experience problems from this. Winter can be cold and unbearable for us, but it can also wreak havoc on our homes. Frost heave is one phenomena that works with the freeze and thaw cycles and can damage your home. Learn a little bit more about frost heave, how it’s caused, and how it can be resolved. Protect your foundation from frost heave this winter!

What is Frost Heave?

A common winter occurrence in the Midwest is that of frost heave. Frost heave is when water penetrates the top layers of soil and saturates it. The resulting effect is heavy, weighed down soil that can begin to push against your foundation. However, the real trouble starts when the water freezes. The soil is now pushing up against the foundation in a new place. When the soil finally unfreezes, it causes the foundation to come back to its original position. This can cause stress on the foundation which leads to cracks in the foundation and the walls. It can also cause some other signs.

Other Common Signs of Frost Heave Damagefrost heave

If you are experiencing damage from frost heave, you may see that you have cracks in your walls or your foundation. However, you may also notice that there are uneven or sloping floors. This is due to the foundation being pushed up unevenly. Additionally, you may see sticking doors or windows that are caused by the same thing. The door frame or window frame is pushed up and the door or window won’t close or open properly and gets “stuck.” These are all common signs of frost heave, but they can also be common signs of other foundation problems like settlement. If you normally haven’t noticed these symptoms, but after a big frost or freeze you do, it’s likely due to frost heave.

Cracked Walls Can Lead to Bowing Walls

When you get cracked walls and foundation, these can eventually lead to bowing walls. This is especially true when the soil outside is still saturated with water after the previous freeze and continues to push against the foundation. Horizontal cracks and a slight bowing can also indicate this. When the bowing is less than two inches, carbon fiber can be used to repair the bowing walls. Carbon fiber strips are installed inside (so no damage to your yard, and able to be installed at all times of the year). They correct and stabilize bowing walls. Plus, they can be painted over and look almost invisible afterwards. Carbon fiber is a great solution to bowing walls in most cases.

Bowing Walls Due to Frost Heave?

If you see bowing walls in your home, whether you are sure they’re from frost heave or not, it’s time to give Midwest Waterproofing a call. We offer homeowners a free estimate, and we can talk through any questions you may have as well. Contact us today for more information about possible solutions for your foundation and waterproofing problems.