Cracks in a foundation, whether concrete block or brick, might be concerning. They can make you nervous and concerned about whether they are harmless or dangerous. Here’s how it works. Not all foundation cracks pose a threat. In reality, most cracks are rather common, and the good news is that they are repairable.
Types of Foundation Cracks
As a homeowner, it’s important that you understand the types of basement cracks and the effects they have on your property, as well as the best ways to repair them. When you know what kind of crack you’re dealing with, you can deal with it appropriately. Knowing the type of foundation fracture also takes the guessing out of foundation repair. Let’s look at five different sorts of cracks and how to cure them.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
These cracks are common in most homes and aren’t dangerous, so there’s no need to be worried. They are mainly caused by rains that put pressure on the foundation or by concrete tension in freshly constructed homes. Vertical cracks angle slightly (within 30 degrees). To fill the gaps, water-resistant epoxy or polyurethane injection can be used.
Once the issues have been resolved, you can further protect your foundation from potential cracks by cleaning clogged gutters and installing downspouts that reach 5 feet away from the foundation walls. Strategic landscaping can also be useful if your home is on a hill.
Horizontal cracks are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. There are several kinds, all of which imply major structural issues. They commonly occur when the ground force strains the basement, forcing it to bow inwards. Other causes include excessive backfilling, frost heave, and the impact of heavy machinery. Regardless of the cause, the ultimate result 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. If you find a crack growing in your basement, contact your basement repair service.
While these cracks are not dangerous, they shouldn’t be ignored. This type of crack indicates differential settlement (horizontal and vertical tension), which could lead to major structural issues in the residence. They occur when specific areas of your home settle faster than others. Diagonal cracks are frequent in homes built on a slope or in areas where soil conditions deteriorate quickly due to drought or severe storms.
Just like vertical cracks, these cracks are fixed in the same way. The only difference is that additional material is needed 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. If you have this type of crack in your basement, you should get it repaired immediately. In concrete blocks and brick foundations, they normally run in a diagonal line. Cracks start in a joint or at the end of a wall and gradually taper or rise up. They, like other diagonal cracks, are caused by differential settling.
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?
Fixing your foundation cracks is 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 to enter into your basement. Moisture in your basement will allow for mold 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 hazard that can result from basement cracks, especially if the cracks are larger than 1/16 inch. Floodwater can damage your clothes and carpets, as well as create an environment conducive to mould growth in your house. Clean-up and restoration costs could run into the hundreds of dollars, money that could have been spent on improving your property if the crack had been repaired in a timely manner.