Many homeowners with foundation cracks look for quick DIY solutions to get the damage repaired as quickly and easily as possible. However, quick solutions such as caulking and sealing cracks will only provide a temporary cosmetic solution if you have serious foundation damage.
Sometimes, foundation cracks indicate more than what meets the eye: an underlying structural issue. In this case, simply sealing cracks will not prevent your foundation from continuing to settle into the ground. So how do you know if your foundation cracks are serious enough for structural repair?
Do My Foundation Cracks Need Structural Repair?
Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home’s foundation are most often a sign of natural settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage in your home. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, that probably isn’t a sign of a major problem, and you should be able to do the minor cosmetic repair yourself.
Larger cracks that aren’t serious enough to indicate foundation failure may be repaired by you or a contractor. A homeowner can fix simple foundation cracks that don’t involve drilling holes in the foundation walls or using high-pressure injection systems. Cracks that leak should be fixed by Airlift Concrete Experts because we have the tools, products, and know-how to repair them.
Cracks larger than 1/4” in width, particularly horizontal cracks and ones that leak, are a different matter, and you should consult Airlift Concrete Experts to determine whether further repairs should be implemented in order to avoid serious foundation problems or even foundation failure.
Foundation Crack Repair Methods
Following are various methods used by homeowners and professionals to repair foundation cracks. Some methods are more reliable and longer-lasting than others.
Caulk Crack Repair
Often homeowners may try to patch a leaking crack with caulk. This repair lasts only 6 months to a year because water will continue to fill the crack behind the patch. Eventually, efflorescence, a white mineral salt in the groundwater, will break the seal and allow water to seep in again.
Hydraulic Cement Crack Fillings
Sometimes homeowners or contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove and filling it with hydraulic cement. While the cement will fill the hole, it doesn’t bond with the cement. Usually, within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.
Epoxy Crack Injections
Epoxy crack injection is an effective method designed to fix cracks in poured concrete foundations. Airlift Concrete Experts is highly experienced and knowledgeable about this type of repair.
This type of repair is applied from the inside of your basement, so there is no need for excavation on the outside. Once the epoxy is applied, it usually takes about 5 hours to cure. Epoxy injections will permanently seal cracks and provide structural integrity as the epoxy is stronger than the concrete itself. Call Airlift Concrete Experts today to learn more and find out if an epoxy injection is the right solution for you!
Sometimes, foundation cracks will continue to form because of serious water issues affecting the foundation. In this case, excavation is required. All structures, sidewalks, gardens, and landscaping are removed during excavation. Then multiple layers of synthetic waterproof material are installed to prevent further movement of the wall and prevent water from affecting the foundation.
After the waterproofing is installed, everything is returned. It is important to keep in mind that the excavated soil will settle during the first year, so you will need to regrade it the following year.
Polyurethane Polymer Injection
The best method to repair a foundation crack that is leaking is to inject into it a high-viscosity polyurethane polymer. Unlike other fillers, polyurethane bonds well to both wet and dry concrete, and its high viscosity allows it to fill even the smallest hairline cracks.
Polyurethane polymer can be developed to expand up to 20 times its volume, if needed. As a result, the seal will not fail as the wall continues to move and shift. Also, it is much less expensive than other exterior methods because it requires no labor-intensive excavation and can be completed within a few hours.
Contact Airlift Concrete Experts for Foundation Cracks
If you’re not sure how to repair a crack or whether or not repairing a foundation crack is an adequate solution to your problem, contact Airlift Concrete Experts today. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation and quote!
Diagnosing Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in your foundation come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is not unusual for foundation cracks to form within the first year of new construction, often near windows, corners of the walls or floors or in the longer sections of your foundation. Most are due to foundation settling and are usually not a cause for concern. If cracks become bigger or allow water to seep through, call an expert right away or fill out the form to the right before the damage becomes worse.
Is This Foundation Crack Normal or Dangerous?
If you are unsure about your foundation cracks, monitor them to see if they are increasing in size. Simply use a pencil to mark off and date the ends of each crack. Within a period of time, you will be able to tell if the crack is due to natural settling or if it indicates a more serious problem. Tracking them will also help foundation repair experts determine how they were formed and the best way to fix them.
Take a look at the types of foundation cracks below to determine if your foundation crack is a cause for concern.
Vertical and Diagonal Foundation Cracks
Usually, a diagonal or vertical crack in the foundation wall is the result of settling in the concrete foundation and is quite common in new construction. Because concrete shrinks while it cures, these cracks are called shrinkage cracks. They usually run vertically or diagonally, are often located in the middle section of walls and are less than 1/8 in wide.
Frequently you will find vertical cracks in block foundations. If the crack is located closer to a corner and is wider than 1/8 in, it is probably not due to shrinkage but indicates a more serious foundation issue. If your vertical foundation crack is wider than 1/8 of an inch, call a professional to get it inspected as it may be a cause for concern.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
Horizontal cracks often indicate a more serious problem. They are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the outside of the walls and can lead to a failure in the foundation. Most foundations are designed to handle the pressure of water and soil. Additional pressure due to heavy rains or flooding can create serious horizontal cracks that need to be repaired as soon as possible.
You must contact us as soon as possible if you have a horizontal crack.
When is a Foundation Beyond Repair?
Fortunately, most foundation issues can be repaired with underpinning solutions and hydraulic lifting. A foundation may be considered beyond repair if the investment that it takes to restore it does not add enough value to the home. Although very uncommon, this sometimes occurs when a foundation has completely collapsed and the damage to the home is irreversible.
Listed below are some of the most serious signs of foundation problems that we have seen that should be addressed immediately before your foundation collapses and fails:
- Cracks that change direction
- Bulging walls due to water pressure
- Sloping and weak floors above the foundation
- Vertical foundation cracks wider at the top than the bottom
- Fitting a dime through a foundation crack
If you have any of these signs around your Arkansas property, contact a professional contractor as soon as possible. If walls are bulging after heavy rains or flooding, your foundation may be in danger of an imminent collapse. Contact Airlift Concrete Experts immediately.
Repairing Vertical or Diagonal Cracks
Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home’s foundation are most often a sign of foundation settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, it probably isn’t a sign of a major problem.
Sometimes unknowing homeowners and lazy contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove into the crack and then fill it with hydraulic cement. While the new cement will fill the hole, it doesn’t bond with the original cement. Usually, within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.
Airlift Concrete Experts has professional solutions to fix your vertical foundation cracks once and for all. If you have small cracks and/or water seepage, we can use epoxy injections to repair a diagonal or vertical crack. Once a crack is large enough to insert a dime, you may have a foundation problem and you will need to invest in structural repairs.
Repairing Horizontal Cracks
Horizontal cracks on foundation walls often indicate serious problems that may eventually lead to complete foundation wall failure. If the soil around your home is not properly graded and drained, water will eventually saturate the ground around the foundation walls and increase the hydrostatic (water) pressure which may exceed the weight-bearing capacity of the walls and cause them to crack or bow. Properties with clay soils that expand and contract significantly are particularly vulnerable to lateral pressure on their walls.
One of the best methods used for crack repair is epoxy injections. Epoxy injection is a system that welds the crack back together. It restores the original strength and loading of the original concrete. Epoxy injections also restore the design and structural quality and make the concrete seem as good as new. The epoxy seal makes the foundation impervious seal to air, water, chemicals, debris, and other contaminants.
Go Crack-Free Forever With Professional Foundation Repair
Sometimes filling horizontal cracks and repairing other cosmetic problems simply isn’t enough. They won’t solve the underlying issues of a failing foundation. So what should you do? If you want to benefit from long-lasting results, contact the team at Airlift Concrete Experts. We have the foundation repair solutions that you need to keep your home strong, stable, and crack-free for years to come.