How Deep is the Frost Line in Texas?

frost on the groundThe winters are relatively warm in Texas, with freezing temperatures only lasting for short periods. So a “deep ground freeze” isn’t your biggest concern, but a low frost line can cause trouble. This invisible line indicates how deep groundwater is expected to freeze. How deep does the frost line go in Texas?

According to state regulations, several counties have a frost line depth of 12 inches. These counties include:

  • Castro
  • Gray
  • Hale
  • Lubbock
  • Potter
  • Wilbarger

View the full list of counties here. In Austin, there is not a specific frost line. It depends on the area of the city where your home is located.

Will my Water Lines Freeze?

Residential water lines are typically put a little more than two feet below the ground’s surface in Austin. Though there have been cases where the frost line extends as far as four feet underground, this is very atypical of Austin winters.

On the off chance that a large winter storm is about to hit Austin, be sure to take measures to prevent pipes freezing. Under slab plumbing leaks can occur when frozen pipes burst under your foundation.

The end of fall and beginning of winter is the perfect time to check for foundation damage. There is still time to repair any problems before large temperature fluctuations cause the soil to expand or contract.

Will My Plants Freeze?

With less bugs and more rain, it makes perfect sense to garden in the winter. You just have to make sure the plant doesn’t freeze – both above and below ground.

So avoid watering your plants when a cold front is on the horizon. The wetness will only expand the cells. Once the water freezes, it will destroy the plant’s genetic integrity due to rapid expansion and contraction.

If the ground gets cold enough the damage can travel. It just takes the roots freezing over for the plant to die. Sometimes a simple cloth covering (burlap or bed sheets work well) can make the difference between a plant freezing and surviving a cold night during winter.

What is Frost Heaving?

Frost heaving occurs when groundwater freezes and mounds of dirt on the surface rise or “bubble up.” It gives a “pitcher’s mound” look when it erupts above ground. The result is serious soil disruption, which can damage the foundation of your home.

A cheap way to combat frost heaving is to put insulation in place. You can use extruded polystyrene insulation to lower slab heat loss. This will keep the ground beneath a little warmer. As a result, frost heaving will be less likely to occur. Installing insulation isn’t an easy DIY task, so consult a professional if you’re concerned about frost heaving.

The frost line in Texas varies greatly throughout the state, but it does help explain why the state has so few homes containing basements. If you’re looking to repair foundation damage ahead of the upcoming cold weather, contact Done Right Foundation Repair today.