Richmond, VA, is no stranger to white winters. While the snow and ice may look magical, they can spell disaster for your property if you are not prepared, especially if you still have excess water in your yard from fall. When water accumulates beside your home, after all, it can seep through your basement walls and foundation (especially if they are made from poured concrete). When this water freezes, it expands and can cause or compound the damage to your walls and foundation.
How Ice Affects Your Property Foundation
While your property foundation is below the expected frost line, there are times when frost and ice reach it and this can be incredibly damaging. When water freezes, it expands; this expansion can cause cracks in your basement walls and foundation. In fact, it can even cause bulges in your foundation and basement floor as a result of a process called “frost heave.” This is not only unsightly but will allow water to seep into your home. This in turn will cause increased humidity, foul odors, mold formation, and even standing water in your home.
Properties with damage to their foundation are also more likely to see rot in exposed wooden beams and pest infestations. Furthermore, damage like this can undermine the stability of your home and will make your basement walls more susceptible to leaning, bowing, and even collapse. So, as you can see, it’s important to take steps to protect your property from damage. Thankfully, protecting your foundation from damage as a result of frost and ice is rather straight forward.
4 Easy Ways to Keep Ice Away from Your Foundation
Unsurprisingly, keeping ice away from your property perimeter and foundation is really about moisture management. When winter really bites, you won’t be able to avoid some ice forming around your foundation as all soil has some water in it. Instead, you should be thinking about how you can minimize the water and ice around your home. These are some really simple things you can do to protect your home.
Have Your Sump Pump Maintained
If you have a sump pump in your home it is key that you schedule annual maintenance before winter takes hold. Making sure that every part of your sump pump (including the discharge line) is fighting fit will minimize dampness in your basement or crawl space and prevent water pooling by your property foundation. This, in turn, will prevent excessive ice buildup around your property.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters and downspouts may be simple, but it is one of the most important things that you can do to prevent excessive ice buildup around your property foundation. Remove all debris from your gutter system and flush it with your garden hose or even soap and hot water to remove sediment buildup. You should also make sure that your downspouts are positioned to direct water away from your home. This will make sure that your property is able to deal with sudden rainfall and sporadic thaws through the winter. This will minimize overspill and standing water around your property and remove a key ingredient for ice formation. These drainage pipes also can be placed in the ground and out of the way.
Maintain Your Yard
Your yard is a proverbial gold mine when it comes to protecting your home from water and soil-based issues. If you grade it to drain water away from your home, for example, you will significantly reduce soil saturation and standing water around your property. Furthermore, if you plant the right mix of flowers, bushes, and trees you will increase the capacity of the soil to manage water, and even prevent excessive soil movement during snap freezes and thaws.
Pile Snow Away from Your Foundation
When the snow starts, which can be early in Richmond, VA, you should shovel snow away from your property perimeter. This will not prevent ice from forming in the soil around your foundation, of course, but it will minimize the water that rushes to surround your perimeter if sudden or sporadic thaws take place before spring. You see, while the spring thaw poses a risk of water damage, early, temporary thaws can result in water pooling around your home before freezing yet again.
Taking these simple precautions will help you to weather the hard Virginia winters with relative grace and ease! If you are noticing problems with water intrusion, don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at JES Foundation Repair for a free inspection and repair estimate. We can implement the right basement waterproofing, foundation repair, and crawl space repair solutions your home needs to stay dry.