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What To Do If Your Foundation Is Cracking
Finding a crack in your home’s foundation is an awful feeling. It’s the stuff of homeowner’s nightmares, really.
The foundation is critical to the overall structural health of the home. Whether the foundation of your home is a full-height basement, a crawl space or a slab-on-grade foundation, its main purpose is to support the house, as well as keep moisture, fungus, insects and soil gases from entering the home.
Cracks are one of the most common problems found in foundations. As soon as you notice a crack in your foundation, it’s important to take the time to do a thorough check on the entire foundation. Mark and date any cracks you see (mark it at both ends so you can check if it is getting larger), note where the cracks are located and how wide they are.
Figuring out what caused the failure is an important first step. If the real cause is not discovered, you may fix a crack now only to have another one surface in the future.
Foundation materials include poured concrete, masonry and stone. Differences in construction, materials used and soil type all play a role in determining what repair will be necessary.
The type of foundation wall you have will establish the type of repair necessary. In a poured concrete foundation wall, for instance, the typical crack is caused during the curing process and will occur within the first few years of construction. This is normally a small repair job to do. That being said, however, it may also be a sign of settlement when combined with other signs, such as windows and/or doors sticking or an interior drywall crack.
In a concrete block or brick foundation, the direction of the crack will tell the source of the problem and the type of concrete repair necessary. If you’ve seen horizontal cracks along the middle of the wall it may be that your walls are susceptible to lateral pressure — meaning that the ground around your foundation is expanding and shrinking with moisture. This back and forth pressure will cause cracking and heaving in the wall. Stairstep and horizontal cracks in the mortar joints can be a sign of serious movement in the foundation.
Another sign of problems are vertical cracks in a block or brick foundation wall, doors and windows that stick, or cracks in the drywall in the home’s interior. Unstable soil conditions can cause your home to settle into the ground causing stress on many areas, including your basement walls.
Many homeowners choose to repair small cracks from the inside by using either a cement-based patch material or polyurethane or epoxy injection system. Although that may work for a small repair, you are best advised to call an experienced professional to get a detailed analysis of what is causing the crack, as well as a specialized solution. There are many home improvement and maintenance projects that can be attempted on your own… major foundation repair is not one of them.
Renovation Experts is a premium network of thousands of remodeling contractors, who carry out bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, attic remodeling and basement remodeling projects. Since 1999, Renovation Experts has helped homeowners to locate and hire a local remodeling contractor.
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