Warm weather in Winnipeg could wreak havoc on home foundations, expert warns

Click to play video: 'Protecting Winnipeg homes from “the melt”' Protecting Winnipeg homes from “the melt”
Snow is melting, and it's melting fast. As Global's Marek Tkach explains, the foundation upon which homes are built is more likely to shift this spring, and it could cause damage – Mar 5, 2021

Warmer temperatures may be lifting spirits in Winnipeg, but the spring thaw could also mean some big headaches for homeowners.

The most common issues homeowners should watch this spring will the possibility of foundation shifting, says the owner of a local foundation repair company.

Read more: Winnipeg turning the corner on spring with warm weather en route: Environment Canada

Seal-Rite Foundation Repair owner Dave Rennie says an unseasonably dry summer last year followed by a dry winter is a recipe for disaster.

“If you’re getting cracking on the exterior walls of a home, perhaps your doors are sticking or not working properly. Same thing with windows; any kind of interior cracking in the home may be a result of some … shifting of the foundation,” Rennie told Global News Friday.

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“Last year was one of our driest, if not the driest summer in recorded history, and now we just went through another dry winter with very little snow. So, you know, if everything stays as is, there’s a good chance that we’ll be dealing with more shifting problems this year.”

Winnipeg was treated with temperatures on the plus side of freezing for much of the week, and the temperatures don’t look to be ready to let up yet.

Read more: Unseasonably warm Winnipeg weather sticking around: climatologist

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the city can expect the mercury to stay above the freezing mark until at least next Thursday, with highs even creeping into the double digits over the weekend.

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Rennie says homes in areas with dense vegetation are at higher risk to the problems caused by the otherwise welcome thaw, which can include flooding in basements.

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He says those living in Charleswood, River Heights, St. James, and South Osborne are more at risk for water damage.

Rennie stresses the importance of doing the simple things like making sure the ground is sloped in the proper direction around your home, and pointing all eaves troughs away from your house.

Read more: Manitoba Merv predicts an early spring on Groundhog Day

But even when you do everything right, he says things can still go wrong, especially during this spring.

“You know, there’s really not a lot you can do to avoid it — it’s a common occurrence of Winnipeg and something we’ve been dealing with here since, you know, the beginning of time.”

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— With files from Marek Tkach 

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