Several times a year, you should conduct a short survey of your home to make sure that there are no issues which need resolved. When you go on your walk through, you should make sure to check out your basement or crawlspace and look closely for cracks and water damage. Cracks may start out small, but when they continue to grow and get wider, that is a sign that you have a problem that needs resolved. What do the different types of cracks mean and how are they caused?
Are all foundation cracks something to worry about, or are some okay to leave? Do you need immediate repair? These may all be questions that you’re asking yourself when you first spot a foundation crack. In general, if the crack is less than the width of a penny and has not grown at all, it usually came about due to settlement. There is natural, expected settlement of the home, and there is also settlement caused by other factors which will lead to damage to your foundation. Expected settlement may cause small hairline cracks, as those mentioned above, which can be painted over and let be. If you have any concerns, please call Olson Foundation Repair so that we can provide you with a free estimate and peace of mind.
Foundation cracks can be caused by settlement, but they can also be caused by a few other things. One that is very common is hydrostatic pressure from the soil. When looser soil gets wet from rainy weather, it becomes heavier. This heavier soil saturated with water then pushes up against the foundation walls in new ways. Pressure like this can lead to cracks and eventual bowing of the walls. Cracks are also a great place for water to come into to your basement or crawlspace. Another cause of foundation cracks is when the ground expands and contracts due to excess moisture, a frost, or excess drying that causes the soil to pull away. Lastly, tree roots snaking towards the foundation of your home can cause foundation cracks.
The type of foundation crack that you have may help us determine the cause of your foundation damage. When we perform your estimate, we will not be looking to seal the cracks and move on. Most foundation cracks are a signal that there are larger issues at play. When you seal the crack and walk away, you are opening the door for bigger problems to flourish because you have not found the root cause of what this crack is signaling. What are some types of cracks and what do they mean?
Vertical: Settlement or soil movement
Horizontal: Bowing walls due to probably hydrostatic pressure
Stair step cracks: Settlement
Now that you’ve found the foundation crack and you know the cause, you may be wondering what to do next. It’s important not to seal the crack and let the foundation repair issue stay. The foundation repair issue needs to be resolved before it will actually help the situation with the foundation wall cracks. For example, if you are seeing cracking because of bowing walls, you have a foundation problem on your hands that needs resolved. You will need to use wall anchors, carbon fiber strips, or another repair method to first repair the bowing wall and then use an epoxy solution to fill the foundation cracks and prevent water from coming inside. Each solution would be individualized to the homeowner and their problem.
If you have foundation cracks and need repair, it’s time to give Olson Foundation Repair a call. We can give you a free estimate, tell you what we believe the problem is and how we will resolve it. We are experts in the foundation repair business, and we want your home to be safe and sound for you and your family. Give us a call today for more information on foundation cracks!