How To Winterize Your Foundation To Prevent Damage

Sep 6, 2017

Categories: Foundations

As the leader in foundation repair, CNT, located in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, we know that our winters can be pretty mild, but temperatures tend to drop down to freezing overnight. Low temperatures cause ice and ice can cause damage to a foundation. With the nightly cold and ice, after a warmer daily temperature, foundations are susceptible to incurring tiny cracks. Normally this would not be a concern since proper drainage around foundations helps keep water from collecting at its base. But as the water freezes and expands, it does so into those cracks, causing them to widen and become a long-term problem.
In this article, we will discuss the proper steps to winterize your South Carolina home’s foundation and the types of insulation materials needed to protect your home or building from cold temperatures and ice damage.

Why is it Important to Winterize My Home in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, winter temperatures usually arrive in December and last until February or March. An average of 3.5 inches of rain falls during these months. The foundation should be inspected for small cracks that would be susceptible to ice damage. CNT Foundations can help seal these cracks to prevent ice from making its way into them. They can also assess if there is a need for further foundation insulation. And with any home or building maintenance, there are small things that you can also do help to protect your foundation. The more you do to prevent foundation, the less the foundation repair professionals have to do to rebuild.
Over time, without proper maintenance, a foundation will be susceptible to freezing around the foundation. The proper winterizing steps can help avoid a significant problem for the foundation. Sometimes homes or buildings are not given their proper winter care and, left unchecked, foundation damage may not be found until costly repairs need to be made. Adding permanent insulation is a good long-term option to be explored. CNT Foundations offers different materials to insulate your crawl space.

What Materials Should I use to Insulate My Crawlspace in South Carolina?

Kraft faced fiberglass. This lower cost option provides fiberglass insulation that is protected with a vapor safe paper to keep moisture away, on front and back. The kraft faced insulation uses paper tabs to secure it to the foundation or crawlspace.
Open cell spray foam. This option is environmentally safer as open cell spray foam is made using plant materials, such as soybeans, and fewer chemicals. Gypsum board is used to protect the open cell spray foam against water vapor.
Closed cell spray foam. This spray foam option is vapor retardant by itself. It doesn’t require additional materials to protect against water. It is also a denser insulation than the open cell spray foam.
There are other options to consider that would help to protect your home from the cold winter temperatures and potential ice damage. Cleaning out gutters, proper cold weather maintenance and insulation of pipes and winterizing outdoor water sources can play a significant role in protecting your foundation. They are all beneficial to your foundation and some may help save on energy costs when implemented. Here are some do-it-yourself winterizing steps for in and around your home or building.
Make sure that your vents are operating properly. Rust and debris can hinder your automatic temperature vents from closing, so it is important to have them serviced for the colder months and before the months of higher humidity. If you have stationary vents, they should be closed as well and during the summer, the screens on the vents should be checked for holes to minimize rodent activity.
Unhook all hoses from outdoor spigots. Water can collect in the hoses and freeze, which, when it expands, could back up into the pipes and lead to the pipes bursting and water collecting around the foundation or causing interior damage. This could potentially be a very costly repair, as pipes may burst and damage not only your home or building but personal belongings as well.
Winterize the sprinkler system. If you have an inground sprinkler system, it will also need to be winterized. As with spigots, frozen water could damage the sprinkler pipes. Damaged sprinkler systems are time-consuming and costly repairs. The burst pipe may cause water to collect undetected around your foundation and the freeze and thaw of your foundation can be very detrimental.
Closed cell spray foam. In colder areas of your home or building, pipes may also be susceptible to freezing. One way to prevent the pipes from freezing is to insulate them with pipe sleeves. The use of pipe sleeves increases energy efficiency as well as protects against freezing. For a low cost, insulating pipes can lower your annual energy costs by as much as 3 to 4%. This also may be especially important to do if your home or building will be unoccupied for any length of time.
Keep rain gutters clean. Over the course of the year, falling leaves and other debris can get caught in your gutter and clog them. When clogged, the gutters cannot drain properly and overflow, causing water to pool and freeze around your foundation. Cleaning gutters is a relatively easy task that can be done yourself or with the help of a professional. Investing in gutter guards will help circumvent debris in your gutters. The gutter guard’s fine mesh covers gutters and keeps debris from clogging and ultimately freezing.
Winterizing your home or building may seem like an overwhelming process, but it can be easy with the help of professionals. CNT Foundations is your best source for protecting your foundation, even in the winter months. We can advise and help you decide if sealing small cracks in the foundation is all that you need or if insulation is a more a necessity. Furthermore, CNT Foundations has options to insulate your home or building that meet your cost and efficiency needs. And with easy pre-winter maintenance on your own, your foundation will be secure from the cold and ice. Call CNT Foundations today to schedule your pre-winter foundation care evaluation.