What Is Frost Heave & Why Vinyl Fences Are the Best Solution

Winter has a way of wreaking havoc all around your home and landscape. Do what you can to protect your investment and see why vinyl fencing is the top choice for cold weather states.

Having a vinyl fence in cold weather can prevent frost heave from affecting your fence posts.
But what is frost heave and how is it affecting your fence?

White vinyl fence half buried in snow

What Is Frost Heave?

Frost heave occurs when cold temperatures freeze the moisture in the soil below the ground. As the soil freezes, it expands and takes up more volume underground, displacing dirt and other materials like fence posts that may be in the way.

This process is accelerated when water from below the frost line gets pulled up in the heave. This water freezes, turning into thick ice lenses which can attach to fence posts in the ground. As temperatures lower, the ice lenses grow upward, lifting soil and attached structures along the way.

Then as temperatures rise, the ground begins to thaw leaving structures raised by heaves to fall back into the now-weakened soil. Repeated frost heaving causes fence posts to lose structural stability, often leaving them askew from their original position. So how can you protect your fence in the frosty winter?

Snow covered wooden fence

Frost Heave Solutions

Use vinyl fencing: Vinyl fence posts are the frost heave fix your winter landscape needs. Vinyl fence posts are not porous, meaning that at -40ºF they will maintain their shape even when increased moisture is present, instead of splitting or rotting like wooden alternatives.

Secure with concrete & wax form tubbing: Concrete footings provide better resistance against frost heaves, while wax form tubes ensure ice lenses can’t attach to the concrete wrapped post if it gets above the frost line.

Drill the post below the frost line: Drilling below the frost line gives your fence post more stability since it is sitting in stronger, non-frozen soil. A deep footing will help your fence post remain in its original position and withstand frost heaves higher in the soil.

To give your fence the most security, combine these three frost heave solutions! Before you get to work, remember to find your local frost line depth.

What other environmental factors are affecting my fence?

There are various environmental factors that can plague your fence all year round. From sunlight to insects and more, get to know the 5 environmental factors that prove vinyl is the best weatherproof fence. Vinyl material makes fence maintenance easy — see what you can do to keep your fence in proper condition all year round.