Fixing foundation cracks is not a task for the inexperienced. Although not every type of crack constitutes an emergency requiring immediate action, you won’t want to go it alone when dealing with cracks.
The wrong type of repair method may not only fail to fix the problem but could make things worse. Getting the help of an expert is the best way to make sure all goes well.
When Are Foundation Cracks Severe Enough for Immediate Attention?
When cracks are structural cracks in the concrete, they threaten the home’s structural integrity. These types of cracks are different from drywall or plaster cracks, which do not affect the structural soundness of the building.
Some of the signs of serious cracks include:
- Cracks spanning across ceilings and down walls
- Larger diagonal cracks
- Multiple vertical cracks in close proximity
- Horizontal cracks, especially with bowing
- Brickwork stair step cracks
- Cracks that have gotten bigger with time
- Any crack wider at one end than the other
- Cracks that exceed 1/10” inches in width
Any of these signs indicate a problem that may require a more extensive fix. The sooner you get these cracks inspected, the sooner you can keep the problem from growing worse.
How Do Experts Go About Fixing Foundation Cracks?
Fixing foundation cracks involves several types of methods, including using piers as a support method. Some of the other options to repair structural cracks include beam replacement and epoxy injections.
Underpinning to allow the soil to support the foundation more easily is one of the most typical repair methods. Once the foundation has been successfully anchored, it can be raised to the desired height. Cracks will typically close with the foundation’s raising.
Helical piers that resemble giant screws are one of the top underpinning tools. These piers are designed to keep turning into the soil until they have reached optimal load-bearing strata. The foundation will be raised to its proper height with hydraulic jacks.
The foundation walls in a basement are vulnerable to hydrostatic pressure from excess water in the surrounding soil. Bowing and eventual cracking in the walls are likely without mitigation efforts. Beams and epoxy injections are a couple of the possible methods used.
Foundation settlement can cause problems with cracks in your crawl space walls. Having foundation piers placed is usually the best remedy for this problem. Carbon fiber patches can also be applied for extra protection.
Is There Any Way to Prevent Foundation Cracks?
Because water is the usual cause of foundation problems, taking care of drainage issues will prevent a lot of problems. Installing interior and exterior drain tiles helps move water away from the foundation, although you’ll have to make sure the yard does not become oversaturated.
Having your gutters cleaned regularly can prevent overflow issues that lead to excess water in the yard. Adding extensions to your downspouts can also direct water away from your foundation. You may also want to consider a bubbler pot, which directs water away from the foundation when full.
If your yard does not slope away from your foundation, you may need to have your yard regraded. Leaving this task to a professional will keep you from having situations where your water runoff ends up going into someone else’s yard.
What Are Your Next Steps With Your Foundation?
Knowing that there are explanations for and solutions to foundation issues is a welcome relief for homeowners. Getting in touch with a foundation specialist for an inspection and estimate will give you the tools you need to get started with your repair.
Falcone Crawl Space has experience in fixing foundation cracks; contact us to see how we can help you.