Foundation cracks, foundation damage
We’ve all seen them and worried: cracks appear in our home’s foundation. We wonder if they are just normal signs of wear and tear that be ignored, or are signs of a bigger problem that need to be addressed.
Putting your head in the sand won’t help you and may lead to bigger, more expensive repairs as a problem worsens. Bowed walls, tilted chimneys, moisture getting into the house and a house made unlivable can be some of the consequences of ignoring foundation damage.
You will save money and grief if you contact a reliable foundation repair contractor to address the problem early.
The different types of foundation cracks that might appear include step, vertical and horizontal cracks, and ones along walls and in basement floors. If a dime can fit into a crack, it’s time to get the problem addressed. Some of the foundation cracks you need to be concerned about include:
These cracks usually have the same width or are V-shaped, wider at the top and diminishing or stopping before reaching the base of the foundation wall. If it goes into the floor, it’s likely to affect the building footings. Shrinkage cracking is usually due to what happened during the original building, including poor mix, fast curing, and other factors.
Horizontal cracks running across the foundation wall can also indicate a serious problem. Perhaps seasonal freeze-thaw cycles or hydrostatic pressure have undermined the integrity of the wall structure, buckling it and allowing water to seep in. A horizontal crack found about a yard or more below grade is usually caused by freezing and thawing, and is where the frost line is usually found.
In poured walls, you sometimes get vertical cracks, which are wider at the bottom and become longer and wider with time. They usually happen soon after construction and can let water in.
Wall-settling cracks are caused by foundation movement because of poorly prepared foundation footings, badly placed or forgotten steel reinforcement. They can also be caused by hydrostatic pressure, horizontal loading that comes from structural pressure above and even backfilling.
While most settling cracks display vertically, diagonal cracks may arise at a corner of a concrete wall after exposure to frost damage, clay soil, trees planted too close to the foundation and other reasons. A diagonal crack under a ground floor window can be caused by the foundation heaving, perhaps indicating shallow or missing footings. Cracks appearing anywhere else on the wall that are wider at the bottom than the top usually are a sign of settling under the home.
Brick Walls and Stone Foundation Walls
Since brick walls do not usually shrink, if a crack appears it’s likely because of structural movement, a support issue, or thermal expansion. Individual stones of a stone foundation wall do not usually crack, but the wall may bulge and crack because of frost damage, because you have removed stones to get around pipes or make doorways and for other reasons.
To repair your foundation damage before it causes even worse problems, contact Dependable Home Services for a free consultation.