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The Frost Line and Your Foundation

Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 by Amanda Waldmann


Many homeowners hear the word “frost” and think about bringing their flowers or other potted plants indoors before temps dip below freezing.

While frost impacts landscaping and other elements outside the home, it can also have a big impact on your home’s foundation.  Frost is essentially water in and around the ground that has turned to ice in cold temperatures.

Think of the thin layer of ice that covers solid surfaces like leaves or blades of grass.

What homeowners cannot see is the groundwater underneath their topsoil. This also freezes when temps are consistently cold enough. Soil freezes from the top down until it reaches the frost line – or the point where the soil will no longer freeze or be affected by outside temps.

When the water freezes, it expands in the soil and puts enormous pressure on foundation walls. The pressure can cause damage to basement walls, most often in the form of cracks along the frost line. The expanding ice in the soil can also damage concrete slab foundations, along with crawlspaces.

The frost line can happen anywhere from a few centimeters below the soil surface to several feet below ground, depending on where you live.

Homeowners can take steps to protect their house from frostline damage by limiting the amount of water that gets into the soil around their home. Using proper drainage systems and making sure no irrigation pipes are leaking are two ways to prevent excess water in the soil.

But, if a homeowner is already seeing horizontal cracks along the frost line, it’s time to call in an expert. An experienced foundation repair contractor will have the tools to identify damage due to frost, along with the right wall repair products to fix the problem permanently.

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2505 S. Waverly Hwy
Lansing, MI 48911
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