A cracking foundation can be a frustrating and even overwhelming problem to deal with. If not repaired, the damage may get worse and lead to serious problems over time. To keep your home in good condition, you should be able to identify the main signs of the problem and know when to worry about cracks in the foundation. That way, you can invest in repairs promptly, effectively avoiding the consequences of putting off foundation repairs.
At Moisture Loc, we offer professional foundation repair services. Our experienced team of repair specialists will help you find the right solution for the cracks in your foundation. However, here are a few things you need to learn about foundation cracks.
What Causes Foundation Cracks?
There are many reasons why cracks can appear in your home’s foundation. The major causes of foundation cracks are:
- The foundation’s age: As your foundation ages, it becomes increasingly prone to a host of issues including cracks.
- Poor foundation construction: If a foundation is not properly sized or substandard building materials are used, it may be compromised and cracks may develop.
- Soil condition: Foundations must rest on firm, undisturbed soil. Poor soil compaction, expansive soil and soil creep can lead to foundation problems.
- Poor drainage: Improper drainage and plumbing leaks around the foundation can cause oversaturated soil, something that could compromise the integrity of your foundation.
- Weather changes: Severe heat and cold can cause concrete and the surrounding soil to expand, something that could in turn trigger cracks on your foundation.
- Tree roots: During summer, tree roots tend to extend next to or under your foundation. The roots absorb water, causing the soil to shrink and settle.
- Natural disasters: Rainstorms, floods and earthquakes have the potential to damage your foundation and cause cracks.
Types of Cracks In A Foundation
Foundation cracks fall into two main categories: structural and non-structural cracks. Structural cracks typically indicate that there has been considerable movement in the foundation. These cracks are deep-seated and can threaten the structural integrity of your home if not repaired promptly.
On the other hand, non-structural cracks mainly occur as concrete shrinks during the curing process. Compared to structural cracks, these cracks are usually thin, less aggressive and do not present a threat to the structural integrity of your home.
Foundation cracks come in different shapes and sizes. To determine whether a crack is serious, you need to establish the kind of crack it is. Below are the different types of cracks in a foundation.
Stair-step cracks: These cracks form along the mortar joints, and appear in a stair-step pattern on the foundation wall. Stair-step cracks pose a serious threat to the integrity of your foundation.
Horizontal cracks: Cracks of this nature run parallel to the ground. Horizontal cracks often occur due to the pressure of unbalanced soil and hydrostatic water being exerted against your foundation walls. These cracks usually indicate serious structural problems.
Vertical cracks: The most common type of foundation cracks, vertical cracks run straight up and down the foundation wall. The cracks can be caused by the natural concrete curing process or foundation settling over time.
Shrinkage cracks: These cracks form as the poured concrete foundation dries out. Oftentimes, the cracks will not change in size and do not pose any structural threat to your foundation.
When To Worry About Cracks In Foundation
Not all foundation cracks are a serious problem. Generally, the seriousness of the problem will depend on the size, location and number of cracks. So when exactly should you be concerned about cracks in your foundation?
Contact a foundation repair contractor if:
The Cracks Are Horizontal
Horizontal cracks can signify severe structural damage. If they are not repaired, the cracks can eventually allow water to seep inside, cause walls to buckle and lead to total foundation failure. As such, horizontal cracks require immediate attention from a professional.
The Cracks Form A Stair-Step Pattern
Just like with horizontal cracks, you need to be concerned if you notice stair-step cracks in your foundation. These cracks are a clear sign of a problematic foundation and can result in major problems if not addressed in good time.
The Cracks Are Wide
Foundation cracks wider than 1/10 of an inch should be looked at by a professional. Similarly, if cracks that were less than 1/10 inch wide get bigger over time, call a professional to get them inspected. Lastly, you should be concerned when cracks become wider at one end.
Several Vertical Cracks Appear Near Each Other
Although vertical cracks are typically not a cause for alarm, several vertical cracks near each other could be a sign of problems with your foundation’s footing.
Water Is Seeping Into Your Basement Through The Cracks
Regardless of the type of crack, if water is leaking into your basement via the opening, have a professional take a look at it. This will help you to avoid further damage from moisture.
Your Home Starts To Shift
Seemingly innocent cracks in your basement can contribute to certain changes in your living space. Be sure to seek professional help if your floors start to slope, your walls are bowing or you are having trouble opening and closing your windows and doors.
The Benefits of Fixing The Cracks
Once you notice serious cracks in your foundation, consider getting them repaired. Early repairs will help to:
- Enhance the overall strength and stability of your house
- Boost the value of your home
- Prevent the existing damage from spreading
- Prevent flooding and property damage
- Save you time and money
The Negatives of Putting Off Repairs
It goes without saying that ignoring an emergency foundation problem can have serious consequences. They include:
- Additional or spreading structural damage
- Expensive foundation repair costs
- Water damage
- Mold and mildew invasion
- Plumbing issues
How Are Foundation Cracks Repaired?
In addition to knowing when to worry about cracks in foundation, you should know how they are repaired. Generally, different repair methods are used depending on the nature and severity of the cracks. Below are a few.
- Crack injection: This method is ideal for repairing cracks that do not affect the structure of a building. Epoxy is injected into the crack and left to dry, effectively sealing it.
- Waterproofing: In cases where the crack is leaking water, permanent repair may include waterproofing. Oftentimes, polyurethane and epoxy crack injections are used to prevent cracks from leaking.
- Foundation underpinning using piers: If the cracks are as a result of the foundation settling, push piers can be used to provide additional support and stabilize the foundation.
Do you have cracks in your foundation? Moisture Loc is a large family-owned and operated business specializing in foundation repair and waterproofing. Our specialists have the skills and experience required to handle any project, large or small. Contact us today to learn more and to request our services.