Foundation cracks, whether concrete block or brick, can be alarming. You may become anxious and wonder whether they are harmless or serious. Here’s the deal. Not all foundation cracks are harmful. In truth, most cracks are rather common, and the good news is that they can be repaired.
Types of Foundation Cracks
As a homeowner, it is critical that you understand the types of cracks and the effects they have on your property, as well as the best ways to repair them. The reason for this is because you can’t properly deal with cracks if you don’t know what you’re up against. Knowing what type of foundation cracks have occurred removes the guesswork from foundation repair.
Let’s take a look at five different types of cracks and their treatments.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
Don’t be concerned about these types of foundation cracks because they’re common in many homes and aren’t dangerous. They are mainly caused by rains that put strain on the foundation or by concrete tension in freshly constructed homes (every two years or so). Vertical cracks slant slightly (within 30 degrees). Water-resistant epoxy or polyurethane injection is used to seal the gaps.
Once the problems have been resolved, you can protect your foundation from potential cracks by cleaning clogged gutters and installing downspouts that reach 5 feet away from the foundation walls. If your residence is on a slope, strategic landscaping can also help.
This type of crack is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. There are several kinds, all of which imply major structural issues. They commonly occur when the ground force compresses the basement, forcing it to bow inwards. Excessive backfilling, frost heave, and the impact of heavy machinery are some of the other causes. Whatever the reason, the end effect is a medium-sized horizontal crack.
Horizontal fractures are common in concrete and block basement foundations. Whether you find small horizontal cracks on an unbowed foundation wall, keep an eye on them to see if they worsen. Contact your basement repair provider if you notice the crack beginning to grow.
While these cracks are not harmful, they should not be ignored. This type of crack indicates differential settlement (horizontal and vertical tension), which could lead to major structural issues in the home. They happen when certain parts of your house settle faster than others. Diagonal cracks are common in homes built on a hill or in homes where soil conditions are quickly deteriorating due to drought or high rains.
These cracks, like vertical cracks, are fixed in the same manner as vertical cracks. The only difference is that additional material is required to prevent future movement. If you see cracks running diagonally at 30 to 75 degrees, call your basement contractor to evaluate the area and determine the location of the settlement. They may suggest foundation piers to help support the foundation and reduce disturbance.
The stair-step fractures are the most damaging of all foundation cracks. They usually run in a diagonal line in concrete blocks and brick foundations. Cracks begin in a joint or at the end of a wall and then taper or climb up. They are caused by differential settling, as are all diagonal cracks.
Basement Floor Cracks
Hairline fractures are a common occurrence in many homes. Unlike the other cracks, they only have an aesthetic impact on the home unless they grow to 12 inches or more. These cracks frequently begin at offset corners (at 90 degrees) and spread out throughout the space. It is recommended that you wait at least a year before repairing them. After that, fill them with caulk or hydraulic cement.
Why Should I fix Foundation Cracks?
It’s a no-brainer. Cracks can grow and worsen over time, increasing your problems and making them more expensive to repair. Cracks, if left neglected, will allow moisture into your basement. Moisture in your basement will allow for mould to grow, which can damage the structure of your home . Furthermore, mold encourages bugs that can contaminate your food and water and spread disease. Water damage is another possibility, particularly if your cracks are wider than 1/16 inch. Floodwater can soil your clothes and carpets, as well as set the stage for mold growth in your home. Clean-up and remediation fees could run into the hundreds of dollars, money that could have been spent on enhancing your property, if the crack had been repaired on time.