Homes are designed and constructed to meet strict government standards, including those enforced by state and local officials. However, over time the elements can start wearing down due to extreme weather, water, and similar things. One area of your home which is particularly vulnerable is your home’s foundation. If you notice any cracks, it’s essential to call a residential foundation repair company. Otherwise, the damage will worsen, and the costs will rise.
From sidewalks to driveways, all concrete cracks, and there’s no way to prevent this. Concrete expands and contracts depending on weather changes and moisture which can cause cracking early on. This is particularly true for foundations since it supports the entire weight of your home. These cracks aren’t always easy to see, especially if you’re not looking for them. Regardless of how long they’ve been there, they are cause for concern.
The most common areas for cracks are around basement window frames, corners, walls, piping areas, and mortar joints. If you find any foundation cracks, make sure to mark and date them so you can keep track of them. While doing this, give your residential foundation repair professionals a call so you can find the source of the crack. They will inspect your home to determine if moisture or drainage issues are the reason for concern. For more information, visit our website at https://grandrapidsfoundationrepairpros.com/.
What Causes Foundation Cracks?
Drought or Excess Moisture
The soil around your house contracts when it’s dry, causing it to pull away from your home’s foundation and leave gaps as a result. These gaps that were once full of soil to support your home are now gone, leaving room for the concrete to move. Even a small amount of movement can cause cracks to appear.
When there is excess moisture, the opposite happens. The soil expands, putting pressure on your foundation and causing it to upheaval. The swelling soil can produce an upward force of 5,000 pounds per square foot. This amount of force can easily displace the foundation causing cracks.
During the summer, there is typically a lack of moisture, causing water to evaporate around your foundation. The lack of moisture in the concrete and surrounding soil can lead to cracks, leaks, and an unstable foundation.
Freezing temperatures can have a detrimental effect on your foundation, especially if pre-existing cracks are present from the dryness of summer. When the water freezes in the winter, it causes the soil to expand. If the cold weather continues, the water will continue going into the ground and freeze at deeper levels causing cracks to worsen. Eventually, this cycle will lead to an uplift of the water-saturated solid due to the frozen expansion.
Inadequate drainage around your home may lead to too much moisture around your foundation, which can cause soil erosion. When this happens, it can cause your home foundation to weaken. Walls may buckle, your home may start sinking, etc. The most common reason this happens is that instead of the water flowing away from your house, it flows towards it.
Drainage problems can be caused by a variety of things, such as water running off the rooftop and pooling near the foundation, clogged gutters, downspouts, or low areas in your yard that are close to the foundation. If you notice that you have a lot of standing water around your home, you need to call a residential foundation repair company to rectify this.
The root cause of some foundation problems can be the plumbing. Water and sewer lines are generally underneath the foundation, so when leaks occur, they may go unnoticed for a long time. These problems may cause the soil under your home to absorb the water, which in turn causes the ground to expand and cause your foundation to crack.
Some signs to watch for that may indicate a leak in your plumbing system is:
- Higher water bills
- Mold and mildew
- Musty smells
- Stained ceilings, walls, or floors
- Wet spots
- Foundation cracks
Types of Foundation Cracks And When To Worry
When you first notice a crack in your foundation, you may instantly jump to the conclusion that you have foundation issues. This is not always the case. Many cracks are harmless, perfectly normal, and easy to fix.
As homeowners, it’s crucial to know about different types of cracks, their impact on your home, and how to fix them. Knowing the type of foundation cracks can take the guesswork out of your foundation repair.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
Vertical cracks are common and typically no cause for worry. They’re caused by rain that exerts pressure on the foundation in newly built homes. To seal vertical cracks, you can fill them with water-resistant epoxy or polyurethane injections. Once these are repaired, you can take steps to prevent future cracks by ensuring your home’s gutters aren’t clogged and extend at least 5ft away from the foundation.
Horizontal cracks are more common in cement block and brick foundations and may indicate a severe problem. Horizontal cracks go from wall to wall and are caused when water pressure and unbalanced soil put pressure against the foundation walls. To protect your home, it’s vital to call a professional foundation repair company to inspect your home for foundation cracks. While these cracks indicate a serious problem, plate anchors and proper drainage systems can reverse the damage and secure the house’s foundation.
Cracks that run up and down in a vertical position to your walls and/or foundations are usually not serious and are simple repairs. These cracks are generally around an ⅛ of an inch wide, and you can repair them yourself. However, if they are larger than this or in a different location, this may signify something more serious, and you need to call a foundation company to examine the cracks.
Stair step cracks are the most dangerous and indicate that you need to call a residential foundation repair company. They often appear in the mortar joints of houses with brick or concrete foundations. Like horizontal cracks, they typically occur during the settling of the foundation.
If they’re only found between the brick or block, they can be repaired by re-applying mortar. However, if the cracks displace blocks or extend through the blocks, they threaten the structural integrity.
Why You Should Fix Foundation Cracks
Cracks grow and worsen over time, compounding the problem, plus the longer you wait, the more expensive the repair becomes. Left unattended cracks will let moisture into your basement, which is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. If you notice cracks more than 1/16 of an inch wide, it’s crucial to call a residential foundation repair expert to evaluate the damage.