At this point you are probably buckling down for winter. For the past few days, Michigan has been under a winter weather advisory. Temperatures are dropping, snow is falling, ice is forming, and eventually, all of that frozen ice will turn to melted slush. This time of year and the accompanying snow melt can be detrimental to your foundation. However, there are certain precautions you can take to help your foundation through the rest of winter and lessen the impact of the Michigan weather.
READ MORE: Michigan Foundations – What To Expect This Winter
Dealing With Heavy Snowfall Around Lakefront Michigan Homes
If large amounts of snow start to accumulate around the walls of your home and near the foundation, be sure to clear it immediately. If you allow the snow to pile up, it could melt into a sloppy slush. This will force water and moisture into the narrow cracks of your foundation. As the freezing weather continues, the melted snow could freeze again, causing unwanted expansion to your concrete foundation. This can enlarge cracks, form new ones, and create massive damage to the structure of your home. Bottom line: As soon as it is safe to do so, clear the snow piles away from your house.
If large amounts of snow start to accumulate around the walls of your home and near the foundation, be sure to clear it immediately.
It is a good idea to check the grade and slope around your foundation as well. Preferably, you want a nice slope that moves away from your foundation, so when slow melts, it will move the freezing water away from your foundation rather than towards it. Check for any areas that may heavily slope towards your foundation and monitor them closely in the winter. Try not to let snow, slush, or water accumulate in that area. Some homeowners choose to bring dirt in around the house, where the outside walls meet the foundation, in order to raise the level of the ground. This will create a small slope that moves away from your house foundation. This is especially important for areas around your foundation where the ground in sunken in and your foundation is exposed. Also consider that the melted snow will contain dirt, salt, and chemicals that can do additional damage to your foundation.
The Effects Of Snow And Ice In Gutters And Downspouts
Additionally, check that your gutters are clear of debris and are flowing accurately and away from your house. With snow comes lots of wet, melting conditions, and your gutters will be working away moving the water off your roof and away from your foundation. Check to make sure that the water is not being directed back towards your foundation and is not pooling in an areas. You should have a nice, consistent flow of water running from your downspouts away from your property. If you have sump pump drains, be sure that they are away from the foundation and clear as well.
Checking Your Crawlspace for Proper Ventilation
If you crawlspace has vents, ensure that there is proper ventilation cycling through your crawlspace. This can prevent moisture from building up and can regulate your crawlspace. You can choose to open the vents on two opposite sides of your house while closing the others, allowing for proper ventilation throughout the crawlspace and keep the ventilation even. However, avoid opening vents that are near hose connections and water pipes. Additionally, if any vents are in areas that accumulate water, keep those closed as well. However, don’t leave your vents open all the time, as the cold air can get into your crawlspace and make your home colder. You will want to regulate your vents and only open them when you think that ventilation is needed.
Considering a Sump Pump Waterproofing Solution for Your Basement
Another solution for a wet basement is a sump pump. Sump pumps are used to removed excess water that has accumulated or collected in the basement of your home. During the winter season, basements are more likely to flood due to the melting snow around your home’s foundation. In areas such as Michigan, sump pumps are a great investment, as many Michigan lakefront homes experience yearly snowfall. Sump pumps can collect the water in your basement and send the water away from your home to a non-problematic area such as a storm drain. Having a sump pump with a battery backup is another good idea for Michigan homes, especially during snowstorms. While most sump pumps are connected to your home’s electrical network, sump pumps with a battery backup will continue to run for a short time while your power is out.
Doing nothing or ignoring the problem is never going to be the cheaper solution.
Consider having your basement waterproofed as well for the following Michigan winters. Lakefront Michigan homes are notorious for having wet basement problems due to the average rainfall, snowfall, and wet, humid conditions. Basement waterproofing can help to reduce or eliminate the water in your basement by using a combination of sealers, drainage, and coatings to prevent water from entering your home. If you have a poured concrete foundation, cracks in the concrete and pipe penetrations are the most common areas that water will attempt to enter your home. Remember, water always finds the path of least resistance when entering your foundation. Many of these openings can be sealed from the interior of your basement. Epoxies can be injected into many openings, penetrating the foundation and creating a waterproof seal for the basement area. This will cut of the path for the water to enter. Mix this with an interior drainage solution like a sump pump, and there is a good chance that your basement will stay completely dry.
READ MORE: As Michigan Thaws Out, Concrete Cracks Up
Other Winter Weather Problems in Michigan
Keep in mind that potential weather problems with your foundation could have started months ago. If your foundation has shifted (even if you might not be aware of it), melted snow is going to find it’s way inside. Water has a tricky way of finding the path of least resistance when entering your foundation, which is why it is such a destructive force. If you have a basement in your home, this can be even more destructive as the water will make it’s way down towards your basement floor. After the snow melts, you may discover leaks or puddles of water in your basement. Consider hiring Kent Foundation Repair to install permanent piping to protect your foundation for the long term. Doing nothing or ignoring the problem is never going to be the cheaper solution.
So as you continue to make it through this harsh Michigan winter, remember to be observant of snow, ice, and water around you home. When able, inspect the perimeter of your home after a heavy snowfall. Clear away large buildups of snow from your foundation. Also ensure that your gutters and downspouts are clear and properly moving water away from your home. As the snow begins to melt, monitor for areas of pooling water near the base of your walls and around your foundation. Try to resolve this problem immediately by clearing the water away. Monitor your basement and crawlspace and look for signs of moisture and water. Stay safe and stay warm through this Michigan winter season!