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Frost-Protected Foundations

What is a Frost-Protected Foundation?

A frost-protected shallow foundation (or FPSF) is designed to protect concrete from frost-related damage. Constructing a FPSF is an affordable alternative to building a T-shaped foundation with deep, wide footings. A frost-protected shallow foundation uses polystyrene insulation to protect concrete from freezing conditions.

How does it work?

Concrete is vulnerable to cracking and frost heaving with extreme changes in temperatures. With a FPSF, the concrete is protected by two sheets of rigid polystyrene insulation. One panel is laid flat on the compacted gravel base and the other is wrapped around the exterior wall.

The insulation comes in two varieties: extruded-polystyrene (XPS) or expanded-polystyrene (EPS). The insulation helps to prevent heat loss and keep the temperature of the surrounding earth above freezing (or 32° F). The amount of insulation required will depend on the air-freezing index in your area.

What are the benefits?

In the past, concrete footings had to be placed 3-4 feet underground in colder climates. These T-shaped foundations are labor-intensive and they can be expensive to build.

With a frost-protected foundation, the footings may be less than 2 feet deep in some cases. This helps to lower the cost of constructing the foundation. A FPSP requires much less excavation and a lot less concrete. Typically, there is no need to bring in large excavators and other heavy machinery.

Installing the Proper Drainage

In order for this system to work, there must be an effective drainage system in place. Frost heaving is less likely to occur when soil the soil is dry. Gutters and downspouts should direct water away from the foundation. An exterior waterproofing system can be installed to eliminate potentially hazard, moist soil conditions.

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ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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