Types of Foundation Cracks and How to Fix Them
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 larger or allow water to seep through, call an expert right away 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.
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 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 a recent 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 and filling 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 cracks 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.