KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the Kansas City area digs out from the latest round of wintry weather, it may be time to take a long look at your home.
The lack of water, or too much of it, in the soil around homes can cause major issues with the foundation. So can the extreme cold.
When the water in the ground under a home freezes and then melts, it may cause cracks in basement floors, one of several issues homeowners may face during the winter.
The freezing and thawing of water in the soil on your property is referred to as frost heave, according to Foundation Recovery Systems. The foundation company warns frost heave normally happens when the temperature drops under 40 degrees for at least three consecutive days.
Foundation Recovery Systems said some frost heave is normal, but more extreme cases can lead to major issues and costly repairs. The company warns the issue won’t fix themselves, and the quicker an expert assesses the damage the better.
Another foundation company, Dry Basement, warns that upkeep is key to avoiding issues with frost heave. Check your homeowner’s policy because most standard insurance policies don’t cover basement flooding caused by snowmelt.
Both companies said frost heave is fixable by installing better drainage and moisture control options around the foundation.
As the snow begins to melt, it’s time for homeowners to pay attention to what’s happening in the basement.
If water is seeping in, or coming in through foundation cracks, it’s time to call in an expert.
When the snow is gone and the temperatures are warming, it’s time to clear gutters and downspouts.
Gutters can freeze in the cold, causing ice dams to form. Dry Basement said an ice dam happens when the gutters are clogged and the melting snow on the roof has nowhere to go. The ice blocks the water from the downspout, so it either backs up on the roof and refreezes or spills over the gutter and onto the property.
That spilling water can add more moisture to the soil next to the foundation and then seep into the basement.
You may also want to make sure your yard is graded properly, sloping away from your home, according to Foundation Recovery Systems.
Foundation Recovery Systems provides a snowmelt prep checklist and suggests homeowners look at it before the next snow.
Keep in mind, you may also need to check your garage and crawl space, if you have one, for damage.