Frost Heaving FAQs

Have you ever noticed all of the potholes in the roads every spring? That’s due to the freeze and thaw cycle of Minnesota’s weather. And those big bumps in the road, the ones that seem to disappear in the spring. They are often caused by Frost Heaving. Frost Heaving can happen anywhere, to concrete or asphalt, new or old.

Frost heaving is when the winter cold penetrates below the soil line, we will call this the “frost line.” This will freeze the moisture that is held in the top layers of soil. Any moisture that is stuck below the frost line can’t get out and evaporate into the air because it’s being blocked by the frost line. This is when there is a buildup of ice, we will call this an ice lens.

An ice lens is a structure made of frozen water coming up from beneath the soil line that gets trapped and frozen into what looks like a disc made of ice. They are kind of neat to look at but boy do they cause a lot of trouble for folks like us.

But wait, it gets worse… water that is trapped even FURTHER down into the soil starts to move towards the surface, and then hits the ice lens and freezes. This will cause the sub-soil ice lens to grow even bigger and with greater force, will push up soil along with anything on top of it.

This means that anything on top of the soil, like your driveway or sidewalk, is going to get pushed out of the way of this growing ice chunk. If you have a concrete driveway, sidewalk, apron, we hope that the control joints will relieve the pressure. Sometimes, Mother Nature has a mind of her own and will cause frost heaving wherever she sees fit.


We’re here to help you smooth things over.