Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What are frost walls?

What are frost walls?


I am having a new house drawn by an architect and they keep telling me that because I have a walkout basement I need frost walls. I’ve never heard of such a thing, I’m worried it will be expensive.


 Frost walls are concrete walls that are placed in the ground deep enough so that in the cold of winter when the ground freezes the walls and the footings they are sitting on will not end up with the ground freezing underneath them.

The reason that you don’t want the ground to freeze underneath them is because it can cause the ground to move. When frozen ground moves (we call it heaving) it has the ability to move your concrete walls up and down. This will cause serious damage to the foundation of your home.

Most frost walls in the main part of North America have to be a legal depth of 4 feet in the ground. This is usually plenty deep enough to stop the ground from freezing.

Frost walls are not expensive; they are a 4 ft high concrete wall sitting on a footing. Usually they do not require water proofing or structural steel, this is because they are backfilled on each side in your walkout basement. They will be cheaper than the rest of your concrete walls.

Do not be afraid of the cost of the frost walls it will not be great.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


  1. Nice and simple explanation of a frost wall. Thanks!

  2. I am building a slab shouse to live in Mid Missouri
    Do I need a frost wall

    1. If you are building an engineered slab on grade house then you do not require frost walls. The slab will be engineered in away that the entire structure will move as one so that frost will not damage the foundation.

  3. If you have a slab with a footing world of frost go under the building and how far will it go? Will it freeze a long ways under the building that is heated