Soon the spring freeze/thaw cycle in Minnesota will mean things are on the move. Things you don’t want to move! Concrete heaves, asphalt buckles, retaining walls shift and bricks crack. The expansion/contraction process caused by ice/snow melting during the day, and then re-freezing at night, can put a tremendous amount of pressure on surfaces and structures.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the freeze/thaw cycle. Many are uncontrollable. Temperatures and melting are out of our hands. Soil conditions play a part; however, it is hard to change the natural soil content of the development. Grading/soil prep at construction are a factor; but again, it’s hard to do anything after the fact.
What you can review and correct, however, is drainage patterns that bring the water to these areas and surfaces. This is the ideal time of the year to assess some common contributing scenarios:
- Do rooflines drop water directly onto front stoops and sidewalks?
- Do downspouts push water into retaining walls or landscape beds?
- Do downspout extensions go out far enough from the building?
- Are there grading issues allowing water to pool on patios or sidewalks?
- Is curbing along the streets level, allowing water to flow to catch basins?
- Are there significant cracks and holes in asphalt allowing water to pool inside?
You are never going to solve all drainage problems. Nor can you eliminate the freeze/thaw cycle. But being proactive by reviewing drainage, and sometimes getting a little creative to redirect it, can save money on asphalt, concrete and other construction repairs. Now is the time to spring into action!