Even though Florida sees some of the mildest winters in the US, there are several common winter occurrences that can cause foundation problems in your home. Generally, Florida experiences drier weather in the wintertime. This, combined with the chance for colder temperatures every once in a while, can spell trouble for concrete foundations.
Dry Winter Weather and Your Florida Foundation
The problem with dry weather is that as the soil around your home dries out, it tends to shrink. This soil shrinkage can cause a few different foundation problems, including:
- Foundation Settlement: When the drying soil under your house shrinks during the wintertime, it will compact, which can cause your foundation to settle and sink into the ground. Foundation settlement can cause gaps and cracks to form in your home, as well as other structural problems.
- Sinkhole/Void Formation: As the drying soil shrinks, it can fall away from gaps in the ground, causing voids to open up and sometimes being the catalyst for sinkhole formation. Voids and sinkholes under the home can lead to major uneven foundation settlement or even total foundation collapse.
- Root Damage/Upheaval: As the soil near your home dries out, plants nearby will extend their roots in search of water. If you have shrubs or trees near your house, the large roots could extend under your foundation, pushing against the concrete and causing upheaval. This can lead to cracks, leaks, and other issues.
If you have noticed any signs of foundation settlement or upheaval in your home – cracks, uneven floors, sticking windows or doors – call our team right away.
Cold Winter Weather and Your Florida Foundation
Depending on where you live, you might even see some temperatures close to or at the freezing level during Florida winters. The changes in temperature from warm to cold that sometimes occur during Florida winters can stress your foundation and cause structural problems such as:
- Foundation Heaving: If the temperature drops below low enough, moisture in the soil can freeze. This moisture will expand as it freezes, pushing against the concrete and causing it to heave. The soil will shrink back as it thaws again, causing the foundation to settle due to lack of support. Although this issue is not common in Florida, it can occur in the more northern parts of Florida during unusually cold spells.
- Foundation Cracks: If the cold temperatures cause the soil under your home to heave and settle, foundation cracks might form in your home. These cracks can also form if moisture in the concrete itself freezes, causing it to expand and crack the concrete.
- Foundation Leakage & Erosion: Foundation cracks caused by freezing and thawing and the expansion of moisture allow the perfect entry point for water. Cracks are particularly prone to leakage during the first major rainfall after dry, cold temperatures, since the shrinking soil will have opened up voids where water can collect underground, leading to increased hydrostatic pressure and erosion.
Keep an eye out for cold weather foundation problems and contact us as soon as you notice any signs – cracks throughout your home, water entry, sloped floors, gaps between the walls and the ceiling or floor, etc. Keep an eye on any seawalls or lakewalls on your property as well, since these can suffer similar problems to your foundation.
Winter Weather Foundation Repair for Florida Homes
Foundation Professionals of Florida offers several solutions for foundation problems that might occur in your Florida home or business this winter.
For sinking and settling foundations, we offer foundation piering options. Both steel push piers and helical piers can be used to lift foundations that have settled due to soil movement or soil shrinkage. If your foundation has cracked or if it has bowing walls due to soil pressure, we can install helical tiebacks to pull the foundation walls back into place or carbon fiber strips and staples to strengthen the concrete and close cracks. We also offer polyurethane injections to fill voids under concrete and lift slab foundations.
If you find that the soil shrinkage or erosion has caused a sinkhole to open up on your property, we offer sinkhole remediation. Our remediation process consists of injecting a cement grout to fill the sinkhole and any voids in the ground and to compact the nearby soil to keep it from shifting again.
We also offer seawall repair in case your seawall as settled or shifted due to shrinking and shifting dry soils this winter. We can inject a polyurethane grout to fill voids and stabilize the seawall, fixing any cracks and keeping it from sinking or leaning.
Whatever the problem in your Florida home this winter, give Foundation Professionals of Florida a call today!