Frost Heave

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Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:09 pm

A question for those of you guys up there in the Nether regions (Scotland). Has anyone ever experienced anything resembling frost heave? The wallers in Canada and parts of North America always have to make provision for it, but I have yet to meet anyone in the UK who has encountered such conditions, even though we are on the same Latitude as part of Canada.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby jerryg » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:11 pm

You'll find out why we don't have the same frost heave problems as Cananda here:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of ... ed_Kingdom
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:06 pm

Thanks for that Jerry. I know we live in a far more temperate climate, just wondered if, given the severity of the big freeze last winter, this phenomenon had been experienced anywhere at all. Walls destabilised by a freeze beneath them.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby jerryg » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:23 pm

If frost was so bad for walls how come all of the high Lakeland walls have not all fallen down.

I know a lot of them have but since none of todays wall-builders are going to live for 200 years, how do they know their walls will last for as long as some of the old stuff. And anyway if it weren't for the old walls falling down there'd be nowt for new wallers to put up again

Maybe the Canadians have trouble with their walls cos they don't build em right in the first place, or maybe their walling history doesn't go as far back as ours therefore they are basing their knowledge on what might happen and not what does happen. :)
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby hankmeg » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:14 am

My experience here in Canada has shown me that the frost is not so bad for dry stone walls, but is indeed horrible for anything mortared or cemented. Almost every front gate or pillar that I pass by is leaning/tilting. Even the homes here with concrete or stone foundations will eventually be moved. They now add very slick water draining membranes to foundations to help keep the frost from gripping the foundation and lifting. And Jerry you're most likely spot on with the quality of walling in Canada... unfortunately. Let me know if you would like some examples.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:41 pm

Tracey,

I have just spotted this topic.

No problems with frost heave up here in the Cairngorms where we must have had close to minus 30 C in places last winter. I have seen a lot of old hill dykes, even built across slopes on fairly soft ground, and they show little sign of deterioration that can be attributed to ground heave.

I think a lot of the concerns about heave in North America come from experience gained with rigid concrete structures and from engineers who don't understand the flexibility of dry laid stonework. It has to be said though that our freeze periods don't last for three month, not does the frost get four feet into the ground.

Has anyone, on either side of the Atlantic ever had walls fail because of the weight of snow on or behind them?

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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:11 pm

Thanks Nick. Minus 30? Thats crazy, makes Yorkshire winter 2010 sound like Dubai.
Cogratulations Jerry on coaxing gentle hankmeg from his normally silent presence.
Its a pity you didn't get to meet him when you both attended the International Congress, then you could have expressed your somewhat reactionary imperialistic opinions to his face. Which would have been interesting given the fact that he is twice as tall as you and that you would fit inside his pocket........
I have been shown some good stuff on Wikipedia in relation to frost heave and the soil type and conditions necessary for it to manifest itself.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby jerryg » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:01 pm

Sorry Tracey, I have always (in my rugby league playing days ) been of the opinion that they bigger they are the harder they fall, as I was an outstanding tackler. I didn't say I was imperialist in my reply, I said maybe the Canadians weren't building their walls right, which seem to have been confirmed by the gentle giant himself.

It also seem to be confirmed that should you decide to put your walls on concrete footings they may be more susceptible to frost heave than good OLD dry foundations, which have had a proven history of being good enough for whole cold old British conditions. Talking of which did we not go through alittle ice age here about 400 years ago, and a lot of our still upstanding walls date from before then.
I see you also like bulding your walls on tarmac, well I have seen lots of evidence of frost heave on tarmacing, judging by the number of roads that fell apart last winter whilst the roadside walls just keep soldiering on.

I know I shouldn't say this but I have actually been to Canada and I wasn't too impressed with some of the work I say there. But as in all the areas of the world I have so far visited there have been good and bad examples of walls.

What are Canadian cowboys called? couldn't be mounties could it where they just mount all the stone into a heap? :lol: :lol: :lol:


I have built a fair number of mountain walls and have not known any fail due to snow accumulation, and we do seem to have had a lot of snow in the last few years. What knocks the walls when snow is about are the snowploughs.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:17 pm

The fact that you have seen the effects of frost heave on tarmac in the UK surprises me given that it is not, as you previously pointed out, a phenomenon to which we are subject.
I will therefore continue on my rampage about the countryside filling all available foundation trenches to overflowing with the stuff, and if none is at hand I will resort to using concrete.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frost_heave
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:28 pm

Tracey,
This last winter the tarmac on the pavements was pushed up by about an inch above the edge of the curbing. It fell back again with the thaw.

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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:30 pm

Undeniably caused by ice and the freeze thaw cycle, but not by frost heave in its truest sense?
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:36 pm

I'm thinking frost heave is just a bigger version, a freeze thaw cycle which has a long freeze element as the cold gets deeper into the ground, meets more water and causes more expansion. I have heard of decks in Nova Scotia being raised four feet by ground freezing, expanding and pushing up everything built on top.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:46 pm

Indeed. But: "Frost heaving requires a frost-susceptible soil, a continual supply of water below (a water table) and freezing temperatures, penetrating into the soil". Which is not the precise cause of extensive potholes in Britain's disintegrating road network.
So far as yet, no evidence of frost heave anywhere on the UK mainland = footings onto tarmac (once!) with impunity......
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:01 pm

T,
A wonderful thing is wickedpaedia!
I'm sure we had some wee heaves this last winter but not the cold suffered by those in Canada and New England. Incidentally while in Kentucky last month I was talking to someone who had built a wall in Wisconsin, the freezer box of the nation. It was built totally as it would be in the UK. Winter proceeded as normal - ice, snow, heave and bust BUT no detrimental effects on the wall.
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Re: Frost Heave

Postby Tracey B » Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:53 pm

OK stonedyker. It is my complete priviledge to arrive at a gentleman's disagreement with you and settle for a 'wee frost heavelet'.
Your round....... T
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