Every homeowner or builder knows the weather can affect the foundation of a house, and depending on the type of soil, the effects could be mild or severe. If you’ve ever built something, you know that the weather rarely behaves the way we want it to.
For instance, winter is coming, and with it comes intense precipitations that risk damaging your home’s basement foundations. Water-logged or muddy ground could cause your foundation to shift. This holds true for all foundation types, be they stonework, lumber, brickwork, poured concrete or concrete blocks.
However, since concrete building foundations are the most common, they will be the prime focus here. High ambient temperature, high concrete temperature, low relative humidity, and high wind speed can all damage the quality of freshly mixed or hardened concrete.
Here are some examples of how weather can affect your home foundation, and ways that builders can prevent them through home remodeling.
How Weather Affects Your Home Foundation
Excessive moisture from rain and other forms of melted precipitation can cause damage to the house foundations of buildings. Additionally, it may damage the soil, which might cause a foundation to sink. If you live in an area where water might seep beneath your foundation, you should know that severe rains can cause water to enter your crawl space. The crawl area will get damp and moldy as water pools there for days or weeks before drying off.
Some people love the summer, while others dread it. Heat waves and drought are possible in various parts of the United States at this time of year. A dry period may be just as dangerous for a property’s foundation as too much rain. A dry period might range from a few days to weeks or months. Together with the extreme heat, this may dry up soil, producing cracks in the outside brickwork and basement foundation of buildings. In addition to the obvious damage they cause, house foundation cracks may be rather costly to fix. In addition, if you don’t fix these gaps, water may seep in and grow mold, which is a greater problem.
When working with concrete, cold weather is harder on freshly poured concrete than on heat. So contractors should try to avoid working with concrete when the temperature is below freezing.
When the concrete powder is mixed with water, an instant chemical reaction makes the concrete crystallize from the inside out. These crystals are added to concrete to protect it from the extra pressure that frozen water molecules inside the concrete could cause. Even though it’s cold, crystals will keep growing for a long time. But if the temperature drops below 15°C, they stop growing, and the concrete doesn’t get as strong as it could.
If the weather is good, concrete only takes 24 hours to reach its minimum compressive strength of about 500 psi. This is much harder to do in colder places. However, contractors have learned how to “trick” the concrete into curing faster by making it think it’s in warmer places.
Contractors should never pour concrete over the frozen or thawed ground when working with concrete in the winter. This is the most important rule. The frozen ground will settle when it thaws. This means that just like when working with concrete in places where it is warmer, pouring concrete in areas where it is very cold may cause cracks.
Contractors should aim to keep the concrete temperature below 95°F, as recommended by the American Concrete Institute’s (305.1 – 14 Hot Weather Concreting) guidelines for setting and mixing concrete in hot weather. We recommend working with or pouring concrete when the temperature is between 50°F and 60°F. Under ideal circumstances, concrete needs between 8 and 48 hours to cure fully, depending on the temperature and humidity. In as little as a week, concrete may achieve its full strength, but it needs almost a month to cure completely.
But if you’ve done any construction work, you know that the weather is seldom perfect. For instance, high temperatures shorten the setting time of concrete compared to when it is low. This is because the setting time of a newly poured concrete slab is shortened by the evaporation of the concrete’s moisture in warmer temperatures.
Concrete poured while temperatures are high is more prone to breakage due to the quick evaporation of moisture. When concrete is laid in an area where the temperature drops rapidly at night, it is more likely to develop cracks. The cumulative result of these factors is that concrete poured and cured at 75°F is likely to outperform concrete poured and cured at 100°F. Working with concrete in warm weather requires precise planning and extensive preparation.
Home Foundation Repair Solutions
Although it’s okay to fix your home foundation problems at any time of the year, winter is a particularly good time to execute the job. As the existing moisture content in the soil naturally elevates the settled section that needs repairs, installing the pilings in the winter may reduce the requirement for a mechanical lift. It’s easier for the house’s structure to lift the foundation in the winter than in the summer when the place is likely lower due to the heat.
Drainage repairs are an option to think about this winter. If water can pool beneath or around your crawl space foundation, potentially causing structural integrity damage, you should consider installing a drainage system. Seeing water pooling towards the structure’s base is a telltale sign of this problem. It makes sense to have someone from Foundation Maestro inspect the drainage system in this scenario.
Concluding About Home Foundation Crack Repair
To sum up, although rain may temporarily help out the foundation walls and basement walls during the winter months, having too much water around and beneath the slab foundations is a problem you may address by improving the drainage. Water pooling along your slab foundation during these months is cause for concern. We recommend contacting the experts at Foundation Maestro to assist with any necessary home foundation repairs.