Foundation issues are usually bound to arise regardless of the material used during construction. The main cause of such issues is usually excess moisture that results from poor drainage and reaches the foundation. Poor construction can also lead to problems such as crumbling and cracking of the foundation. In other cases, improper settling can be the cause of those problems. Regardless of the cause, it is paramount that you repair those issues as soon as you notice them.
Our repair team knows how to handle various building materials and foundation problems. We use the right equipment and solutions to avert the issues and protect the foundation from permanent damage. We will make sure we identify the root cause of the problem before implementing any repair procedure. Whether the problem is complicated or not, our technicians will find the right solutions to navigate it properly without making it worse.
Different types of cracks can appear on your foundation, and it helps to know how to differentiate them. The cracks mostly appear on the floors and walls when the material used on the foundation shrinks or expands as it dries. For instance, wall shrinkage cracks can appear randomly when the concrete on the wall dries up. Wall settling cracks can also appear diagonally, vertically, or horizontally. These cracks are usually caused by stress that arises from improper settling of the foundation.
Regardless of how the cracks appear or what creates them, professional repair is mandatory. We will assess the level of damage and appoint the right action. If the crack is superficial, we may monitor it closely to ensure it doesn’t get worse. If the problem is significant, we will repair it immediately and install measures to prevent a recurrence of the same.
You can determine an appropriate foundation repair time depending on the extent of the crack. In most cases, smaller cracks won’t require repairs, but they still need monitoring. On the other hand, serious cracks will have to be addressed quickly. When categorizing the cracks, check the level of threats they pose to you and your loved ones. If you think the crack could cause a portion of the house to collapse, it should be fixed immediately. If the crack is small but shows signs of expanding rapidly, it should also be repaired as soon as possible. You should also check for signs of sagging and unevenness on the floors or upheaval of slabs on the foundation. Any of these could be signs of hidden damage to the foundation and internal cracks. You should never ignore foundation cracks even if you think they are insignificant. Call our office, and we will send a team to inspect the damage and come up with accurate deductions. After that, we will help you prevent major damages that could need more work and money. We will also inspect your waterproofing system and answer all the questions you have.
The more you leave cracks open, the more you increase the chances of excess moisture seeping into your house. Even small cracks can still allow water to damage some of the elements on your property. For instance, the wooden frames on your walls or house structure can absorb the water and rot or crack, leading to safety concerns. Water can also cause mould and mildew to grow, which could cause you health problems. Some insects and rodents are also likely to infest your home through the cracks as they look for water.
Cracks in the foundation are also unattractive and can cause you to trip. Whether you intend to sell the house or not, you don’t want big cracks on any of your surfaces. The lack of visual appeal can also cause you a lot of problems when you want to use the house as collateral for a new loan. Most homeowners usually use their properties to get second mortgages or other loans to settle some emergencies. If you find yourself in a situation that leads you to look for emergency funding, your home will be evaluated. Cracks will reduce the home value during an appraisal, which could lead to loan disapproval.
Ignoring a crack on your foundation can also result in the problem becoming bigger over time. When the soil surrounding the foundation is compromised, it becomes unable to support the full weight of the structure. The heaving and settling of the soil will create an unstable foundation and support. The only way to release that pressure will be for the cracks to expand, which results in more problems for you. If you solve the issue when it is still minimal, you contain it easily and spend minimal resources in the process.
Cracks usually allow external elements into the house. No matter how good your insulation system is, your heating and cooling systems will be affected when you have cracks in your foundation. Cool air will find its way into the house during the cold season, and warm air will seep through during summer. Your only option will be to increase your heating and cooling hours, which will result in higher energy consumption. Not only can that increase your monthly utility bills, but it will also increase the carbon footprint you emit to the environment. Repairing the cracks can prevent all that from happening and help you keep your air conditioning costs at a minimum.
Damage to the internal structures of a property can compromise the whole house, and that is what unrepaired cracks can lead to. The more the cracks continue to widen, the more the rest of the house will try to adjust to the shifts. Your ceiling, walls, and even the floors will begin to crack as well. Eventually, you will be forced to cater to the repair costs, and in some cases, a new construction. Patching up the cracks and finding out what’s causing them sooner is a better and more cost-effective solution.
As the name suggests, these wall cracks usually appear when a concrete wall releases excess moisture and shrinks during the curing process. They appear randomly in different parts of the house, but they usually have the same sizes. In most cases, they appear wider at the origin and gradually become smaller as they move towards the lower part of the wall. They also tend to appear vertically rather than horizontally, but in some cases, they will have V-shaped appearances. Wall shrinkage cracks aren’t usually a cause for concern as they are discontinuous.
Generally, these cracks don’t widen past 1/16 inches, but they can still allow excess moisture into the house. However, if they appear on brick walls, they could indicate an internal foundation problem and should be inspected.
These types of cracks can appear vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Vertical cracks tend to be narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. They also appear shortly after the wall is constructed, but at ¼ inches, they are usually wider than wall shrinkage cracks.
Horizontal wall settling cracks are common in concrete walls and can appear on any section. Some of them will appear on the lower sections of the wall, while others will appear on the upper part. The cause and severity of the crack will determine whether it is dangerous or not. For instance, wall settling cracks on walls built by bricks can expand and result in the entire wall caving in. Cracks that originate from the foundation and appear on multiple sections of the wall can also be dangerous.
When concrete is used to build a wall, it shrinks as it cures. During that process, there will be cracks as a result of the chemical reaction that leads to the water used during mixing being expunged. Several factors such as humidity, temperature, the type of aggregate used with the concrete, and sun exposure will determine how big those cracks get. Wall shrinkage cracks are good because they allow the concrete to cure properly. However, sometimes they show structural damage.
Some of the causes of wall shrinkage cracks on a foundation include; temperature fluctuations around the wall, lack of strong reinforcement, improper concrete mixing, and curing that happens too quickly.
Wall cracks on brick materials usually arise from the expansion because the materials don’t shrink.
If the foundation isn’t properly prepared and reinforced, it could shift around and cause the walls to crack. The shifting is mostly caused by hydrostatic pressure from the poor settlement of the wall, but it can also come from the structures above the foundation not being loaded carefully. The hydrostatic pressure doesn’t just affect the exterior walls; it also affects the underground sections.
Wall settling cracks that appear diagonally are usually caused by trees that are too close to the foundation, frozen water, expansive clay soil, and extra load at the crack’s point of origin. Shallow footing or lack of one can also cause cracking, especially those that appear under windows on the lower floor. Cracks that enlarge towards the bottom than at the top are also caused by wall settlement.
Poured concrete foundation walls
Concrete should be mixed properly before it is placed on the foundation wall. Improper mixing can lead to cracking, just like inconsistent temperatures. Expect your concrete walls to crack if you live in an area where weather conditions change frequently. Foundations that aren’t reinforced by steel are also susceptible to cracking. Curing that happens too quickly can also cause cracking on the poured concrete.
Diagonal Wall Cracks
These cracks usually originate from a corner of a room or under windows that are on the lower levels of the house. They can be caused by several factors, such as frosting, trees or other structures near the foundation, and point loads that are heavier than the concrete. Expansive clay and unstable footing can also cause cracks, especially those under windows. A diagonal crack that appears on other sections of the walls usually signals a settlement on the foundation, especially if they are bigger at the top than the bottom.
Block foundation walls
In most cases, these cracks form in the middle of the wall instead of the top or bottom. The cracks will have the same dimensions even if they appear on opposite sides of the wall. They usually develop when the temperature changes regularly or when the concrete shrinks during curing.
Horizontal Wall Cracks
Most properties built with blocks or bricks are usually affected by horizontal cracks. They can appear anywhere on the wall, and they usually signal different problems. For instance, horizontal cracks on the upper section of the wall are caused by frosting on the surface or subsurface and can be dangerous or mild. Contact expert foundation cracks repair service providers to assess the damage and determine its severity.
Bricks are mostly found in older buildings, but some modern contractors and homeowners still prefer to use them to support the first floor. Bricks don’t usually shrink, but they can expand. Their cracking is therefore associated with their expansion and not shrinking, which is unlike concrete. It’s better to avoid using bricks on your foundation, but if you do, call experts immediately you notice cracks.
Cracks in the middle sections of the walls are usually caused by too much backfilling or very heavy equipment being operated near the walls. Framing the floor before backfilling properly, presence of water in the foundation or soil underneath, and frost can also result in cracking in the middle of the wall.
These types of cracks usually form in places that have denser soil or those that are wetter. Since the earth is usually strongest at the bottom than the top, loading can result in cracking. If the walls move inwards, they become imbalanced and lower parts of the walls become weaker, which leads to cracking.
Cracks that result from shrinking concrete don’t usually need special attention because they don’t get bigger. They can be as small as hair, and as such, they don’t cause any damage to the property. Whether your walls are built with concrete or bricks, shrinkage cracks won’t damage them. It’s normal to see these cracks as the wall dries up.
Although concrete cracks result from shrinkage and aren’t worrying, brick cracks are usually a signal of a more serious problem. As such, they should be evaluated by a professional to ensure there aren’t problems with reinforcement in the foundation. If not assessed, the cracks can result in the whole wall collapsing. The more you ignore them, the more you increase the risk of that happening.
Foundations with shrinkage cracks can be repaired easily by sealing to keep water and air out. Some of the good sealants commonly used are epoxy, polyurethane foam, or patching compounds.
Some of the factors that affect settling cracks are ground conditions, the material used to build, and temperature changes. Therefore, the repair procedures will depend on the type of soil around the foundation and these other factors.
Stabilizing the foundation is one of the best repair processes. Steel pins are strong enough to level the ground and allow construction to go on with better control. However, the pins are usually very costly, with the price ranging from $1200 to $1500 per piece. On the other hand, they are very durable and can last for at least 60 years.
If you choose to continue with construction without support, you can use friction piers to control the settlement. For areas that have unstable soil conditions, channels and steel rods can help prevent further damages. Huge cracks or those that have affected other parts of the property will have to be excavated. Building the foundation again and implementing waterproofing measures will prevent a repetition of the same.
The basement floor is the main area that is likely to be affected by shrinkage and settling. The cracks formed during these processes aren’t always concerning, but they can still make your floors unpleasant and inconvenience you when you need to use your home value for a loan or sale. Additionally, they could also become larger over time and allow insects and rodents into the house. One of the best solutions for floor cracks is the addition of joints. Find out if your contractor used them when constructing, and if not, our contractors will add them. The joints can reduce the amount of shrinkage and, subsequently, the cracks. Another solution is sealing. Several quality sealants could give you long-lasting relief, especially if installed correctly. Injecting a sealant into the cracks will prevent them from getting bigger, and you can add concrete to the surface to make the floor uniform. Cracks that are smaller than 3/16 are usually considered harmless. However, if it is big enough to cause tripping, it should be repaired, even if it isn’t affecting the internal structure. Additional measures that can prevent the floor from cracking are: compacting the soil properly when building, vibrating concrete during installation to remove excess water, and vacuum impregnation. These will prevent heaving and settling of the soil, and allow the concrete or bricks to cure and dry off properly.
Mud jacking refers to the process of injecting mud or concrete under an existing concrete slab. The current slab is lifted, and the mud is pumped underneath in low pressure. Different solutions, including polyurethane resins, can be used.
After injection, the resin will dry up into a solid that contains air bubbles. The stable soil must be shallow if this method is to be effective.
You should only consider mud jacking if you want to raise the slabs to level them with others. This is an affordable process that is very effective in providing the desired solutions.
Also known as slab jacking, this method is perfect for foundation floors that are sinking. It allows you to inject any material you prefer underneath the sinking slabs to raise them. Most people use Thixotropic grout, but other materials can also do the job.
The repair method is mostly used on floors with monolithic concrete or areas where compacted soil is deep. Although it may seem simple, grout pumping should be done by professionals who will do the job right the first time.
French Drain System
If the cracks are caused by water under the foundation, a French drain system will be the ideal solution. The method will prevent further soil erosion and keep the problem from occurring again.
You will have to dig a trench on the basement floor and install a PVC pipe that will redirect the water to another location. The pipe is connected to the sump pump under the basement for convenient drainage. This method will not work on cracks caused by anything other than excess moisture.
It’s important to remember that the best solution for extensive cracks is excavation. The process usually requires the use of advanced equipment and exposure to the interior foundation structures. The entire foundation also has to be inspected thoroughly to pinpoint the areas with the most problems. Don’t take chances with your foundation. Let our experts handle the repair process from beginning to end. We will inspect every inch of the membranes, weeping tiles, and footing to ensure we get everything in order. Our experience with such repairs will also ensure that we come up with the right deductions about the available cracks. You can be sure we will determine whether they are signs of bigger problems, or they are only cosmetic. Regardless, we will make sure you get durable repair solutions.