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Old 02-28-2014, 07:06 AM   #1
num70
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Frost heave - Driveway (Question)

Quick question...

This winter has been a bad one around here.
I ended up with one heck of a frost heave.
Probably 7 inches high.

Question is...

I know I have to let this thing thaw out first, but assuming the heave/depression stays it will have to be fixed. Is it safe to assume that the right way to fix it is to dig up all around it, flatten out the earth underneath, and pave a whole new patch there? There seem like there are other ways to deal with it, but they all seem pretty half-*******. Maybe I'm missing something?

Any insight is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:12 AM   #2
Uncle Kwacker
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you probably have water underneath that area............better find the source and fix that first
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:57 AM   #3
h2ofwlr
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For frost to form in the ground you need 3 things - cold, moisture and very fine soils (clay/silt). Eliminate either one and there is no/minimal heaving.

If you get a wet fall, it usually compounds the potential frost heaving problems. And conversely, if a dry fall in minimizes the potential.

That being said, wait until the ground unfreezes to see if the driveway goes back down. If it does not - usually it is because an object pushed up and is holding the slab up. Usually it's a big rock or chunks of concrete, etc. This is also why farmers in the glacial till areas of the US each spring they go out and "pick" rocks out of the fields that the frost pushed up that winter.

Here is an interesting tid bit of mostly useless info: Frost can exert up to 300,000 lbs per sq ft of pressure in ideal conditions. Meaning if it got under any major high rise office buildings footings--the frost action could lift it up. I knew that some day that info that I learned in soils engineering class might become useful.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:10 AM   #4
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Insulation

You can dig it out, but it may be from a source of moisture, or just a random heave. It happens up here all the time, usually results from saturated ground and constant traffic over or close to the area.
If you go through the trouble to repair it, fix it right. It may be difficult depending on the exact spot, elevation, proximity to buildings etc.
One thing that you can do is place some frost shield down before you back fill. use at least 2 inch Styrofoam SM Type 2 or better. Not the crappy bead board (white with little beads) as it holds moisture and has little R value. Go big, dig around the area as frost attacks from an angle and gets under whatever it wants, especially if there is traffic around the area. Also try to provide drainage, crushed rock as a "french drain" under and away from the area.
Good luck, frost is a B&$ch to deal with.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Kwacker View Post
you probably have water underneath that area............better find the source and fix that first
^^^This^^^

Got it bad down my way too.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:47 AM   #6
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Yankee problems

Never heard of such a thing, although it is way too cold for NC this time of year. It is supposed to warm up the day after duck season ain't it??
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:52 AM   #7
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^^^^ But you guys deal with snakes, gators, termites, and hurricanes.... and we don't


Regarding Hanger's comment - For us Americans, the Fomular 250 is what is used under slabs. I use it all the time. This is a 250lbs per sq ft rating, there is a 150 rating that is used for walls and roofs. This is a closed cell foam insulation.

But per Numbs location, I question how far down the frost goes in MA on an average year? Thus one needs to weigh that repair cost against the frequency of experiencing frost heaves.

Up where I live (northern tier states) and my Canadian friends do more so, we get from 3' to 6' of frost under the snow. And when there is no snow (driveways, roads, walkways, etc) it can easily double that depth. In my local we have been experiencing a lot of frozen water mains in the streets this winter with the very cold weather--and the water lines are down 7'. Our minimum footing depth per bldg code is 42". (not deep enough--especially at garage doors, walkways, etc).

BTW, insulation board does not prevent the cold going down--but traps the earths heat from rising upwards. Thus it traps the 50 degree soils below the insulation sheets which keeps the ground from freezing.
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Old 02-28-2014, 10:03 AM   #8
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^^^^ But you guys deal with snakes, gators, termites, and hurricanes.... and we don't
Yeah, but y'all have to deal with Yankees everyday!! We'll take the occasional snake, gator, termite, or hurricane over that any day!!
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:58 AM   #9
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If you want a quick fix take a gas saw with a diamond blade and run it down the jount where it is heaving. This will make it so when it does thaw, the slab will settle back to normal grade, and not get hung up on the rough edges.

This won't prevent this from happening, but it will make it so it fixes itself when it's not frozen.

If you want to fix it right, follow advice above. I usually dig everything out 3' deep, and replace dirt with 3/4" gravel. Install french drains if necessary.
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Old 02-28-2014, 01:31 PM   #10
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Lot of great info here.
Thank you.

(Sadly...it confirmed my fears that there's plenty of work here in doing it the right way.)
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:54 AM   #11
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Yeah, but y'all have to deal with Yankees everyday!! We'll take the occasional snake, gator, termite, or hurricane over that any day!!
Arkansas the land of the "taint" taint the north and taint the south.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:29 PM   #12
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Yeah, but y'all have to deal with Yankees everyday!! We'll take the occasional snake, gator, termite, or hurricane over that any day!!
Yeah, at least we can deal with those minor things.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:30 AM   #13
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Arkansas the land of the "taint" taint the north and taint the south.
Ill reserve criticizing Arkansas until they re-elect Prior. If they don't they get nothing but praise for the next 6 years (except Bielema).
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