Frost Issues

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Frost Issues

Postby Peter » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:51 am

I am just starting to explore the craft of dry stone walling and I have some questions regarding frost heaves. I live in an area of Canada where we put concrete footings in three feet below ground level to protect against frost heaving. From what I have read about dry stone walling, this might not be necessary? I am looking at building a wall, three feet in height around some of my property. Does anybody have any suggestions as to how far below ground level I should begin the first course in order to protect my wall from the frost?
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Re: Frost Issues

Postby hankmeg » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:13 pm

Hello there, Peter, this is Dean from Canada. I would be happy to help out in any way I can with this. My email is hlmasonry@hsfx.ca. I really look forward to hearing what the members here say on the frost though. We also have frost to a severe depth here in Ontario, but I don't think it matters if its six inches of frost or 3 feet of frost to a wall, so long as the base work is done properly and the wall is built well. I look forward to the thoughts of others.
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Re: Frost Issues

Postby jerryg » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:33 pm

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Re: Frost Issues

Postby hankmeg » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:51 am

Thanks Jerry for pointing those discussions out. Interesting to be sure. Our common question here is always regarding frost heave from potential clients. In my experience I have seen poorly built walls come down in a few months of winter and very well built walls last decades. I think mostly it is the wallers skill determining the longevitity above all.
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Re: Frost Issues

Postby jerryg » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:33 pm

Hi hankmeg, I agree it all comes down to the good wallers' skills in building honestly. By honestly I mean putting in the time to really place well bedded foundations for their walls. The hardest bit of walling is getting damn good footings in place in difficult areas. Despite the fact that these stones if placed properly will never be seen again for many years until age takes it course. Cowboys always find it easy to shove in any old stone knowing full well the wall only needs to stay up long enough for them to get paid.

The majority of the old walls crossing the Cumbrian mountains have stood the test of time. We are gapping a wall at the moment that crosses a bog 1000' up. Yesterday we couldn't work because the ground was frozen solid, a few weeks ago we couldn't work because the same wall was sitting in 2 foot deep water. Most of the wall is in fine condition despite having to put up with these changing conditions over the last 200 or so years. Where the wall has fallen down is almost always due to the slippage of the foundation stones so they slope outwards and the wall above falls down. The fact that most of the foundations have never moved despite the conditions is proof that the wallers of old were the best.
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