Your home’s foundation is one of the most important structural aspects of its construction and design. It’s characterized by the concrete walls around the crawl space or basement and is responsible for supporting your home’s entire structure.
Minor foundation cracks typically don’t cause a lot of issues and can be fixed at home using a few DIY tools without compromising the structural integrity of your entire house.
However, the best way to conduct foundation repair is to ensure that it doesn’t lead to further problems. If you’re unsure, then it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional such as a local structural engineer or contractor to make sure that there are no major issues.
Read on as we explore when to worry about foundation cracks and foundation repair costs to consider.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Hairline cracks are usually the first sign of trouble when it comes to foundation issues and can happen even within the first year of construction.
They’re characterized by a sewing-thread wide crack which occurs due to “settling, a phenomenon which is characterized by concrete shrinking due to the curing process.
So long as the hairline cracks are thin, then you shouldn’t lose sleep over it.
Track Narrow Cracks
A hairline crack with an average width of 1/8 inch often occurs due to the settling process and it isn’t much of an issue either unless you notice continued expansion. Keep an eye on the crack by marking both ends with a pencil and note the date.
Write the width of the widest point as well and check back after one to three months to see if there are any changes and keep making notes if there has been expansion, so you can take action if necessary.
If you don’t notice any moisture leaks or further expansion then you’re looking at a stable crack that you can easily fill with some grout.
Seal Cracks Wider Than 1/8-Inch
A crack that measures about ¼ of an inch or so usually happens due to concrete shrinking and house settling which can happen within months from the original date of construction.
It’s not a sign of structural issues but you should still seal it to avoid radon gas leaks, soil smells, and moisture leaks. You can easily repair a small crack like this using concrete compatible caulk.
Seal Horizontal Cracks
Basement floors are often poured after the walls which is one of the most common areas for cracks to appear.
These cracks often measure about ½ inch wide which means the biggest issues they’ll cause are moisture leaks, gas leaks, and smells. The easiest way to repair this crack in the foundation is to fill them up with concrete-compatible caulk.
If you notice a crack between the floor and wall that is above ½ an inch then you should start looking for foundation repair companies near you so they can inject expanding epoxy into the gap.
Divert Crack Water
Damp crawl spaces and basements typically accumulate moisture due to being located at the yard level. This makes it easier for moisture to seep through the cracks and open up chances of mildew and mold to grow.
It’s also important to keep the foundation wall dry at all times by getting rid of foundation plantings and incorporating soil on the part of the yard that surrounds the foundation to increase the slope as you move away from the house. You can also add downspouts and guttering to extend your foundation’s life.
Have a Professional Check the Wall Crack If It’s Wider Than 1/2-Inch
A lot of large cracks end up being nothing to worry about but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consult with a contractor to check it out.
Ask a structural engineer to pop by and inspect the foundation for possible structural problems, because although you can easily repair a 1/2 inch wide crack using DIY methods, you should also make sure that it’s nothing serious, just to be on the safe side. Better safe than sorry.
You Have a Structural Problem If You Have a Bulge in the Foundation Wall
The best way to reinforce foundation walls is through the use of sturdy steel. If clay soil is used to build the wall, then it can easily swell up when wet and put hydrostatic pressure that pushes the wall in on itself.
You might struggle to even notice a slight bulge but with the help of a six-foot level you can figure out if a bulge is developing from a wall crack.
No matter how small the bulge is, it’s important to consider the cost to repair cracks in foundation if you don’t get a professional to check it out in time.
Need a professional to do a foundation crack repair? Contact today and request a free quote!