The foundation of your home is arguably its most crucial component. It supports the entire structure and maintains its integrity. Like anything, it needs to be inspected and cared for regularly. But what happens when you discover cracks in your basement foundation? This blog post will guide you through understanding the types of foundation cracks, the potential dangers of ignoring them, and the steps you should take if you find them.
Understanding Foundation Cracks
Your house is an investment, and it’s essential to understand the difference between ordinary and more serious foundation cracks. If you find cracks in your basement foundation, addressing the issue promptly is necessary. Cracks in your basement foundation can range from hairline fractures that are easy to overlook to larger, more noticeable cracks.
You usually find common cracks in concrete block foundations, generally vertical or horizontal. These cracks don’t present an immediate risk but should be monitored closely for any size, depth, or width changes. More severe cracks may indicate problems with the foundation that require repair.
Here are some common types:
- Vertical Cracks: These run up and down or slightly diagonal within 30 degrees of vertical. They’re often due to the settlement of the soil under the foundation, but a contractor can quickly repair them.
- Horizontal Cracks: These run side-to-side. They could indicate serious issues such as soil pressure or frost damage and require immediate attention.
- Step Cracks: These resemble stairs and often occur in brick or concrete block foundation walls. They may indicate uneven settling of the house.
Again, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and have a professional inspect your foundation, as these cracks can indicate more significant issues.
The Risks of Ignoring Foundation Cracks
Ignoring foundation cracks can lead to severe consequences, both structurally and financially. As cracks widen, they allow more water to seep into the basement, potentially resulting in water damage, mold growth, and an unhealthy living environment. Structurally, unattended cracks can worsen over time, leading to significant foundation shifts that can compromise the safety of your home.
Causes for Premature Foundation Settling and Cracking
To adequately address foundation cracks, it’s vital first to understand the cause. Here are some of the most common causes of premature foundation settling and cracking:
- Poor soil preparation before building your home.
- Impermeable or expansive soils that can’t hold up underneath the weight of a house.
- Plumbing leaks in the basement.
- Improper grading or drainage on the exterior of the home.
Premature settling is relatively common, but that also means a contractor can address the symptoms contributing to the issue.
Steps to Take When You Find Foundation Cracks
Finding significant or even many cracks in your foundation or foundation walls is an inconvenience. No one wants to deal with the headache of dealing with a structural issue. But the key is to remain calm and stay proactive to address the problem quickly to avoid further damage.
Let’s discuss some of the steps you should take when you find cracks in your foundation:
Reach Out to Qualified Professionals
First, reach out to a structural engineer or foundation repair contractor with plenty of experience in foundation repair. A professional can accurately assess the damage’s scope and advise on the best course of action for your specific situation.
Then, depending on their diagnosis, you’ll need to determine whether a complete foundation repair is necessary or if they can fill the cracks.
Get a Thorough Assessment
The qualified professional you work with should thoroughly inspect your foundation, determining whether the cracks are minor or indicative of a more significant structural problem. During their inspection, they should also assess the soil around your home for potential issues. While doing an inspection, questions may come up, so it’s essential to be prepared and ask questions if needed.
Is your home suffering from improper drainage? Does your home have any plumbing leaks in the basement? Because the causes of premature settling are usually noticeable, the answers to these questions should help inform your repair plan.
Prepare for the Repair
Before beginning work, move any furniture or items in the basement out of the area or cover them with drop cloths to protect them from dust and debris. Once this is all taken care of, the contractor will assess the site further to determine which repair methods are best for your situation.
From there, they’ll carry out any necessary work to ensure that your foundation is solid and can support your home’s structure again.
Work with Experienced Companies
Ensure that your company has a proven track record and positive customer reviews. They should provide you with a detailed repair plan and estimate; a reliable company will ensure that you, the client, understand what they’re doing and why they believe it needs to be done. They should also provide you with a guarantee that their work meets building codes and that it will resolve the issue, as well as give you an estimate of how long it will take to complete the repair.
Foundation Repair Methods
Different companies mean different strokes; some foundation repair methods are more suitable for certain situations than others. Depending on the severity and cause of the cracks, the company may recommend different repair methods. Every job is always different, and you’ll need someone experienced and ready to handle any odd situation during your foundation repair.
Contractors use many standard techniques to restore foundations:
- Sealing: Minor cracks might require sealing with a waterproofing material to prevent moisture infiltration.
- Epoxy Injection: This technique involves injecting epoxy into the crack to seal it and restore the strength and integrity of the original wall.
- Underpinning: In cases of severe foundation settlement, underpinning – strengthening and stabilizing the foundation – might be necessary.
Remember, your home’s foundation is critical to its overall stability. If you discover cracks in your basement foundation, don’t ignore them. Reach out to a qualified professional for an assessment. Not only will this ensure the safety and longevity of your home, but it can also save you from costly repairs down the line.
Find a Reliable Foundation Repair Specialist in Your Area
If you’re looking for a reliable foundation specialist to help repair the cracks in your basement walls, The Crack Team is here to help. Our team of experienced professionals offers various services, including crack injection, waterproofing system installation, and seam repairs.
We promptly provide affordable solutions and are committed to delivering fast, high-quality results that will last years. Contact us today and get a free estimate to repair cracked basement wall issues in your home. Don’t let cracks in your basement walls go unchecked; get peace of mind with our reliable, affordable solutions.