What Is Frost Heave Damage?

Learn about frost heave damage.

Learn about frost heave damage.

The winter is not over yet, but after months of freezing temperatures, property managers may see frost heave and cold weather damages in their parking lot and sidewalks. Continue reading to learn more about frost heave damage and how to repair it.

Frost Heave

Frost heave occurs when the stones of a walkway begin to heave, or shift, after freezing weather. Freezing temperatures penetrate the ground and cause water under the pavement or concrete to turn into ice. When the water turns to ice, its total volume increase, then when the temperature reaches above freezing, the ice melts. The freezing process also dries the surrounding soil, which draws water from below the frost front. This can cause the paver and stone walkways to crack or settle unevenly, and make your parking lot or sidewalks unsafe and unsightly.

Freeze-Thaw Cycles

A freeze-thaw cycle is when the temperature changes from above freezing to below freezing, and then back above 32 degrees Fahrenheit again. When the temperature is above freezing, rain and snow can seep into small cracks, but once the temperature drops below freezing, that water will start to freeze and expand, which causes the crack to grow even more. When the weather reaches above freezing temperatures, the ice is melted once again and moves deeper into the cracks, and continues to freeze and expand each time the temperature drops below 32 degrees.

As we know, the temperature fluctuates quite a bit in the winter in Maryland, as some days are sunny and reach 50 degrees, while other days are snowy and 20 degrees. The drastic change in temperature contributes to changes in the depth of the frost front, which creates a series of ice lenses with layers of frozen soil in between. Ice lenses continue to grow and cause upward thrusting of the ground surface which lifts soil and structures and causes large cracks in the pavement.


While there are ways to prevent frost heave damage, it’s very likely that your pavement will be in need of maintenance and repairs after a harsh winter. However, proper pavement installation is crucial, as it will decrease the numbers of repairs and damages frost can cause. Ensure that your pavement is installed properly and regularly maintained by hiring a professional paving company like PTG Enterprises. PTG has various asphalt and concrete services to ensure your paved areas remain in great condition for years to come!

Maintenance You Can Trust from PTG Enterprises

If you want to protect your pavement and ensure it has a long lifespan, choose PTG Enterprises for your community sidewalks, parking lots and pavement maintenance needs. We offer commercial concrete, asphalt, masonry, paving, consultation and survey report services throughout Baltimore, Harford, Anne Arundel, Howard, and P.G. Counties. If you are interested in hearing how we can help you, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 636-8777. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr.

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