How the Weather Can Affect Your Home’s Foundation

Extreme weather conditions can cause damage to your home’s foundation. From drought conditions, heavy rains, harsh sun, severe heat, and snow and ice, your home’s foundation can be tested to its limit.

Your foundation plays a critical role in keeping your home in place. But since it sits in the soil, it can shift all year round. While it’s normal for home foundations to shift, this can cause severe damage to your foundation. Below, we’ll go over the impact of extreme weather on a home’s foundation.

Heavy Rainfall

Too much rainfall can impact your home’s foundation in several ways. When rain falls, the water is absorbed by the soil. When the soil absorbs too much rainwater, it swells and puts pressure on your foundation. 

Once the soil can no longer absorb rainwater, this water goes elsewhere. Unfortunately, it may leak into your house through different openings, including cracks. Once the soil is wet, mushy, and soft, it might make your foundation settle.

Hot Weather

High temperatures combined with the absence of moisture can be harmful to your home’s foundation and may result in leaks and cracks in your home. 

Dry weather makes soil shrink or contract. When hot temperatures cause the soil around your home’s foundation to dry out, it can make your foundation settle. This creates further problems, including leaks and cracks, a sinking foundation, and weak structures. 

High Winds

High winds can also affect your home’s foundation. That’s because severe winds can cause an uplift, which means they can cause your property to separate from its foundation. 

Wind pressure can cause your home to move, slide off the foundation, tilt, or rotate. This damage worsens year after year, worsening existing cracks and creating new ones.

Cold Weather Damage

Cold winter will keep you indoors and can affect your home’s foundation and weaken its structural integrity. As the weather gets colder, some foundation problems can occur. The risk of damage increases if temperatures dip below 4.4°C for three straight days.

Frost Heave Damage

When the moisture below your house freezes and expands, it causes frost heave. The expansion puts pressure on your property’s foundation and causes an upward movement. This movement may cause cracks in your ceiling, floor, and walls. Frost heave occurs due to water, freezing temperatures, and frost-susceptible soil.

Homeowners with basements may notice signs of their foundation settling around the windows, doors, and walls. Windows and doors will cling to their frames, making it difficult for you to open or shut them. Zig-zag pattern cracks will occur outside and inside the walls. The cracks will widen as the settlement continues.

Water Damage

Freezing and thawing water may cause cracks in your basement and foundation. As the cracks worsen, interior walls will pull away and begin to separate from the roof. The abrupt moisture increase will cause severe damage in your crawl space or basement.

Ice Damage

As snow falls on your roof, it’ll begin to pile up. The heat from your house might cause the ice or snow on your roof to melt. This will make the water run down your roof and into cold eaves. The water will then refreeze and form an ice dam.

An ice dam will stop water from flowing off your roof. Instead, it’ll seep straight into your house through cracks and openings. This water can cause wall cracks, mildew growth, and wood root, compromising your foundation.

Leaks and Seepage

Rising temperatures will cause ice and snow to melt and trickle into the soil around your home’s foundation. Water saturation will happen, and the soil might not carry any more water. 

As a result, water will leak into your basement via cracks, doors, and windows. This will lead to dampness and mold growth, making the wall paint peel off. The end result is that your home’s foundation will be weakened. 

Frozen Discharge Line

The discharge line of your sump pump may freeze during winter. This will force water back into your house and possibly flood the basement. To avoid this problem, make sure your sump pump slants downward during cold weather so it doesn’t collect water on the inside. 

Drought

There are various types of soil underneath home foundations, and each type reacts differently to different weather conditions. Clay, silt, and sand are the most basic soil varieties based on mineral composition and size. Often, the soil under your home will be a blend of the three.

Rain will easily drain through soil that’s high in sand. Water will get trapped in the granule if the soil is largely clay. When clay-heavy soil is drenched with rainwater, it expands. This expansion can spell trouble for your foundation when the moisture changes. Clay-heavy soil can also contract during a drought, compromising your home’s foundation.

How to Protect Your Foundation from Extreme Weather

Like concrete, the soil around your home’s foundation expands and contracts depending on weather changes. During cold winters, your foundation expands. When the weather heats up, the foundation contracts. 

This never-ending cycle can progressively cause damage to your foundation. Fortunately, you can take these precautions to weather-proof your foundation:

Install French Drains

Setting up French drains can be a helpful way to divert rainwater away from your property’s foundation. This will allow rainwater to flow downhill and away from your house, protecting your foundation, especially during cold winters.

Choose the Right Plant Location

Don’t plant any large shrubs or trees so adjacent to your house. As the roots of trees or shrubs grow so large, they’ll put so much pressure on your foundation that it’ll begin to crack. Trying keeping large shrubbery or trees close enough to your home to maintain soil moisture but not too close for the roots to crack your foundation. 

Maintain the Right Concrete Moisture

Watering your concrete slabs or concrete foundation is another helpful way to avoid foundation cracks during the hot summers. Adding moisture will stop the surrounding soil and your foundation from contracting, thereby preventing cracking.

The Takeaway

Having an uneven or cracked concrete foundation due to foundation issues can be a really annoying problem. It doesn’t not only ruin your home’s curb appeal but also could be a potential safety risk for your family members and visitors.

Foundation troubles are a normal occurrence. However, adapting to weather changes, acting fast, and being smart will help homeowners protect their home’s foundation regardless of weather changes.