Did the winter cold cause the cracks in your foundation to grow?

Hamilton, like many other Canadian cities, has some cold, harsh winters. Even though Canadians may be used to the cold weather our winters bring, the foundations of our homes have a hard time adjusting to the freezing temperatures. When you've had issues with your foundation, you may wonder if the cold will make those issues worse or if you can wait until the next year to fix them. Here's what you need to know about the cold and your foundation issues. 

Frost heaves 

You may not have heard of these before, but frost heaves can cause major issues for your foundation or exacerbate existing ones. There is moisture and water in the soil surrounding your home, and when the temperature drops, it will cause the soil to freeze and expand because of the water in it. 

This expanded soil will push against your home's foundation and create pressure on the walls of your home. This can cause new cracks to form or make existing cracks much worse. 

Frozen pipes

The other major culprit that can cause cracks in your foundation is frozen pipes in the winter. If the pipes are on the outside wall of your home and are exposed to frigid temperatures, then you may be at risk for frozen pipes. 

In some cases, with older Hamilton homes, pipes will be located in between the concrete foundation walls and a finished wall – like drywall. When these pipes burst, they can cause major issues with your foundation and make cracks worse. 

The moisture from the pipes can sit in the porous concrete, which will expand and contract with freezing cycles. This can either cause cracks to form or make existing ones worse. 

Deal with cracks as soon as possible

If you are in the basement of your home or wandering around the exterior of your home, and you notice that cracks are forming in the foundation, you will want to address those right away so that they don't get worse over time. 

A professional can look over what's happening with your foundation to determine the best course of action. There are a number of options for fixing the cracks, depending on the severity and location of the crack, 

So does the cold make the cracks worse?

The cold weather is not what actually makes the cracks worse in your Hamilton home or causes new ones to form. What causes problems is the freeze and thaw cycles that happen due to the cold. When water freezes, it expands and it needs somewhere to go. This means it will push pressure against your foundation's walls, which causes the cracks to form. 

Newer homes will usually have protection in place to ensure the ground has enough room to expand and contract; however, older homes tend to have a few more issues with cracking foundations. That being said, it can happen to any Hamilton home, and it's important to keep an eye on the condition of your home to ensure none of the cracks really get out of control. 

Contact Conterra Foundations today

If you have noticed new or worsening cracks in your home's foundation, don't wait. Give us a call today to arrange for a consultation.