I absolutely LOVE this time of year! Football games, over-eating waaaaay too much, and Christmas lights popping up everywhere! Along with all the cheer and goodness that abounds with the onset of winter, are some important considerations we must take into account if we’re to properly protect our investment in a new foundation or concrete slab. The enormous pressure exerted on our concrete creations from frost heave pose a unique challenge here in Moore, Oklahoma.
Frost heave is the process in which the water in your soil below the surface freezes during the winter months, hardening and expanding upward towards your patio, sidewalk, driveway or foundation. This can wreak havoc upon anything standing in the expanding soil’s way, causing uneven and broken walkways and building foundations. It is vital when designing and pouring a new concrete feature to take into account the potential for frost heave, as it is difficult and often cost prohibitive to remedy later.
Driveways, sidewalks, patios and other slabs are more susceptible to the damaging effects of frost heave than traditional foundations in Oklahoma due to their lower weight and lack of adequate anchoring. As a result, it is important to properly prepare the sub-surface to reduce frost penetration, eliminate water in the freezing zone, or replace frost susceptible soil with another substrate that resists frost.
In central Oklahoma, it is vital that enough of the frost susceptible soil be removed and replaced with coarse sand, rock or gravel that is resistant to frost. Insulating slabs to limit freezing temperatures from penetrating beneath your slab is an extra layer of insurance, but is not always the most economical.
Frost heave will cause substantial damage to your improperly designed commercial or residential foundation. Here in the Oklahoma City metro, the frost line depth is generally considered as 20 inches below grade, so it is very important that as much of the clay, silt and susceptible soil be removed and replaced with fill that allows free drainage of any water that may migrate beneath your foundation. Proper drainage also plays an important role around the perimeter of your new home or pole barn, to limit the ability of water to seep underneath.
Damage due to frost heave is not limited to concrete. It can have devastating effects on improperly prepared swimming pools, decks, landscaping and other outdoor features. For peace of mind, check out our friends at Backyard Builder OKC, their knowledge base is second to none!
As it is with any other trade, not all concrete companies in Oklahoma City are equal. When researching who to use for your concrete project, be sure that your contractor has the knowledge base to not only make your project look good, but to properly prepare the site so that you will be able to enjoy your investment for years to come.