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Solidly packed soil, mounded at the top, will keep water from saturating the soil around the footing and causing potential heaves. It's tempting to fill the hole with sand or gravel, thinking you'll provide good drainage that way.
Usually the heave is slow, creeping only a fraction of an inch over days.
That's because these connected structures will damage the house if they heave. This may seem like a pain if you're adding a deck or front porch, but porch floors can heave up under doors, and tilting decks can pull house walls outward.
Soils that contain coarse particles of gravel and sand drain well and won't usually heave, because they don't collect and hold enough water to form frost lenses.
Frost heave can be so impressively high in Canada that we have a special name for it: "pingo," and we put it on our stamps (Photo 3).
As impressive as frost heave can be, as far as buildings go, who cares about how high frost heave can go if the direction of heave is upwards?
Unfortunately, upward frost heave can be a concern if the ground freezes against the foundation.