Horizontal and vertical foundation cracks are not just unsightly but can be extremely damaging in nature. They may start small and widen over time causing problems like water seepage or settling. If you don’t pay attention to what happens around your home, you may stumble upon them when it’s too late.
The ensuing foundation repairs might be disruptive and expensive, especially if the origin of the crack is somewhere below your home. It’s best to act sooner rather than later to forestall these repairs and to protect your home’s structural integrity.
Here, we’re going to look at the factors that can instigate cracks, as well as telltale signs you have a serious problem.
Major Causes of Foundation Cracks
Many things can cause cracks to appear on your foundation. Luckily, you don’t need to be an expert to pinpoint some of them. The main culprit is the shifty soils under your home, which swell in wet conditions and dry out and shrink in hot weather.
Hydrostatic pressure: This refers to the water pressure that builds up in the waterlogged soil around the foundation. Slowly and steadily, this pressure can force water through holes and passageways in your concrete foundation and into your basement. With time, the pressure can also cause cracks on your foundation wall.
Tree roots: When the weather gets hot and the soil dries, roots from large trees near your home will grow far looking for water. One of the places they might reach is the soil below the foundation. If the soil is wet, the roots will suck up the moisture, causing it to shrink and crumble.
Poor soil preparation: Installing footers on loose-fill or poorly tamped soil will only cause it to settle, as it’s unable to support the weight above.
Foundation settlement: Whenever the foundation soil shrinks, gaps will form under your foundation. Your foundation will settle as the soil is unable to support your home, leading to floor and wall cracks.
Frost heave: During winter, the ground freezes, and ice lenses form under the foundation. This process causes the ground to heave, pushing the foundation upward. When the weather warms up, the ice thaws and the foundation settles back down, but not in its original position.
Should I Worry About Cracks?
Some cracks are cosmetic in nature and won’t lead to structural damage. However, some cracks do need more attention. Here’s how to know you have a serious problem at hand:
- Bowing foundation walls (interior and exterior)
- Diagonal cracks on brick foundation walls
- Doors and windows start pulling away from their frames
- Cracks that run from the top to the bottom of the wall
- Chimneys that lean away from your home
- Sagging or uneven floors above your crawl space
Inspect Cracks In Your Home Regularly
You can prevent damage by inspecting the foundation regularly for cracks and other structural problems. Take note of the date and location of the crack and write a brief description of its appearance or looks. Take a picture of the area where the cracks have appeared then measure the crack’s length and width. By keeping an eye on the foundation, you can prevent small cracks from widening and causing problems. You will also avoid costly repairs, especially if the cracks are small.
The experts at Foundation Recovery Systems in Moberly, MO, can fill up simple cracks with water-resistant epoxy. Where settlement has happened, we may opt for serious interventions such as helical piers and push piers, which can stabilize the foundation and bring the floor to its original elevation. Every home is different, so we offer customizable solutions to fit your budget and your home’s unique needs.
If you are worried that foundation cracks could hurt your basement or worsen the moisture situation, get in touch with Foundation Recovery today. We’ll inspect the cracks then give you recommendations along with a free foundation repair quote. Once we get the green light, we’ll perform the necessary foundation repairs to resolve the problems and save your home.