Just like the dryness of summertime, the chill of winter months can damage your property’s foundation and necessitate foundation repair or replacement. Colder temperatures tend to keep more moisture in the ground, leading to soil expansion and upheaval against your foundation. This can cause cracking, buckling and uneven flooring. Snow buildup can also lead to a buildup of moisture and pressure that causes extensive damage to your foundation in the winter months. By preparing your foundation ahead of winter’s arrival, you can avoid having to weigh the costs of foundation repair vs. replacement come spring time.
How to Begin Your Winter Prep
Use this blog as a checklist for completing winter preparation around your commercial property. If you have several commercial properties, this checklist can be distributed to building managers, employees or renters so that there are simple-to-follow procedures in place.
“Winter-ize” your landscaping
This means ensuring the landscaping around your property is properly graded (sloped), which helps push water and ice away from your foundation. Pooled water from melted snow and ice can seep into the soil surrounding your foundation, leading to soil expansion and warping.
Seal outdoor ground cracks
Pay close attention to concrete and asphalt surfaces in your parking lot/sidewalk areas. Before winter arrives, make sure to look out for and seal any major surface cracks with crack fillers such as caulks, concrete repair mix, cement or sealcoating. This prevents water occuring in snowfall and inclement weather from collecting underneath the pavement and causing further ruptures on the surface.
Clear gutters of debris
Gutters are critical for controlling drainage from rain, snow and melting ice on your roof. It’s important to clean out all debris from your gutters before winter starts and to periodically check their status throughout the wintertime.
To test your gutters ahead of time, run water on your commercial property’s roof and check the downspouts. Water should be flowing freely away from your property. Ideally your roof is sloped enough to prevent snow buildup, which can exert tremendous pressure on your property over time and lead to foundation damage from melted water in the surrounding soil.
Inspect for exterior cracks
Check for exterior cracks around your property to ensure there are no spots where melting snow can collect and infiltrate any building interior. Pay extra attention to places low to the ground where snow could be apt to build up. Melting ice water can seep through cracks and lead to the formation of mildew and molds, endangering the health and safety of any occupants. It can also lead to foundational damage as water becomes absorbed in the soil underneath the property and forces pressure on the foundation. Catching these cracks ahead of time can mean the difference between paying for foundation repair vs. replacement down the road.
Disconnect outdoor water faucets
It’s important to detach your garden hoses, shut off your outdoor water valves and drain any faucet fixtures before the beginning of the winter season. Water expands when it freezes, meaning excess water left in your pipes could freeze and rupture pipes, valves and joints. You may not even discover what has occurred until the spring thaws things out and leaves you with leaky pipes. To protect your outdoor water faucets and prevent water leakage in the springtime, you should do the following pre-winter prep:
- Close the shut-off valve to your outdoor faucets.
- Disconnect all hoses attached to them and store in a weather-safe area.
- Open and allow the faucets to drain out.
- Cover the faucets with weather-appropriate and secure covers, when possible.
Create a snow and ice removal plan
Snow can be one of the biggest maintenance problems when it comes to protecting your commercial property over the winter. Too much snow buildup can lead to frost heave. Frost heave occurs when ice forms in the soil, causing the soil volume to increase and exert tremendous force on a foundation. As the weather gets colder, provide clear snow-removal instructions to your contractor, internal staff and/or renters so snow levels are managed correctly around your property. Some tips for snow and ice removal include:
- Create a designated location for all excess snow to be stored so there is no build-up around the base of your property.
- Apply de-icers or salts before any snowstorm hits to clear walkways for high-traffic areas around your property.
- Provide transitional areas with floor mats where people can clean their feet and remove boots to prevent slippery floors.
If you’re worried about protecting your commercial property from winter weather or have noticed signs of foundation problems, call PermaPier Foundation Repair of TX. We’re here to help you catch foundation issues before they cause long-term damage. Schedule a no-charge evaluation today and one of our foundation experts will inspect your property for potential foundation problems.