GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Overwintering a Full-Basement Foundation

JennL | Posted in Expert Exchange Q&A on

Trying to carefully time some parts of our new build in climate zone 5. The foundation will be a full basement foundation. I have seen builders pour the foundation prior to the ground freezing and let it sit for months prior to starting the rest of the build. Is there any problem with this? Will the foundation dry properly or be subject to moisture accumulation at floor level? Can it be tented to limit bulk water accumulation and at the same time allow for airflow? Thank you

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. user-1072251 | | #1

    The danger is that the ground around the footings freeze, heaves the footings which cracks the foundation. You best luck is to install and daylight the foundation drains (solid pipe, not the cheaper flexible stuff), backfill the outside, cover the interior footings and floor with frost blankets and lots of hay, to keep the ground around the footings from freezing. If it is not overwintering, should not be a problem. Water will not damage concrete (at least in the short term).

    1. JennL | | #2

      I should have specified that this will be a full basement foundation (I edited the question to reflect this). We will be installing interior and exterior perimeter drain systems. Does that change any aspect of your answer? Thank you

  2. user-1072251 | | #3

    That was my assumption, so no. Would it be overwintering?

  3. JennL | | #4

    Yes, possibly.

  4. plumb_bob | | #5

    I am dealing with a foundation that was left exposed to cold weather, the footings heaved and the foundation walls cracked. I think the project will continue, but after very costly investigation and certification by structural engineers.
    It is tough to over winter a full basement in a cold climate, these structures are meant to be back-filled at the exterior and heated on the interior so frost cannot penetrate to the footing level.

    1. JennL | | #6

      Thank you. We will set up the schedule to avoid letting the foundation sit over the winter.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |