Cracks in your foundation are likely a bad sign. Foundation cracks almost always appear due to soil movement or improper construction. However, the methods used to repair these foundation cracks differ depending on the kind of foundation crack. Read on to find out which type of foundation crack you have and to see which repair solution Affordable Foundation and Home Repair recommends as a solution.
How to Determine Your Foundation Crack Type
Walk around your home to check for foundation cracks. You should check both the exterior of the foundation and the interior. If you have a basement or crawlspace, you will have to enter that area to look for interior cracks in the foundation walls. Examine the shape and size of the crack as well as the number of cracks. Also be aware of the placement of the crack on the foundation – it is near the corner, or is it near a window, door, or opening?
Once you have examined the foundation cracks, check the list below to find out what kind of crack you have and what kinds of repairs you should invest in:
Concrete Foundation Shrinkage Cracks
If the concrete that makes up your foundation was not mixed properly, shrinkage cracks may result. These cracks usually appear when the concrete is new, as it cures. They often appear randomly throughout the concrete and are typically very fine, hairline cracks. You might see them in the exterior or interior of the foundation. These cracks do not usually require any type of structural foundation crack repair, but you may want to have them filled with a sealant so that they do not widen and allow water to leak inside.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
These cracks run up the foundation wall and sometimes continue onto the floor or ceiling of the basement. They are rather common and usually appear due to tension on the concrete when the soil around it shifts or settles unevenly. The uneven soil movement causes the wall to shift or settle, leading to crack formation. Pressure from an overly heavy load in the above house and hydrostatic pressure in the soil can also contribute to vertical foundation cracks. Cracks larger than 1/4 inch should concern you, as they might be structural. Even if these cracks are deemed not to be structural, they should be repaired to prevent water leakage. If these cracks were caused by soil movement, foundation pier installation may help lift and level the foundation and close cracks. If the vertical cracks are accompanied by a bowing foundation wall, helical anchors may be installed to pull the foundation wall back into place.
Diagonal or Stair-Step Shaped Foundation Cracks
Much like vertical cracks, these cracks usually form as a result of differential foundation settlement or soil movement. These cracks might form near the corner of the foundation due to frost damage or foundation heave. Diagonal cracks take a stair-step shape pattern in concrete block and brick foundations. Again, the wider the crack, the more serious the issue, even if it is only because wider cracks allow water to enter the home. These cracks can be repaired in the same manner as vertical cracks – be sure to seal the cracks once the foundation is re-leveled.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
These are probably the most serious kind of foundation crack. These cracks occur due to pressure from the soil outside or due to settling and shifting soil. Wider cracks are words, but no horizontal foundation crack is a good sign. The repair methods for these cracks should be helical pier installation to lift the foundation or polyjacking to raise the foundation if it is a concrete slab foundation. If the horizontal crack appears in a basement foundation wall, we can install helical anchors or a wall plate anchor system to reverse bowing walls and pull the cracked wall straight, closing the crack. Follow up with sealant if the crack is still visible to prevent leakage.
Spiderweb Foundation Cracks
You might also notice cracks in a spiderweb pattern on your foundation, especially if you have an older foundation. These are usually a sign of normal foundation aging and are usually very fine. If you notice severe foundation deterioration as well, contact an expert. Otherwise, enjoy the character of your old home.
Affordable Foundation Crack Repair Experts in Alabama
The foundation crack repair experts at Affordable Foundation and Home Repair are known as the Crack Guys. We can handle all types of foundation cracks to get your Alabama home back to normal in no time. The reason that we are so well-equipped to handle any kind of foundation crack is that we offer a variety of services. We provide underpinning with helical pier installation, concrete lifting with polyjacking, or bowing wall repair with plate anchors and helical anchors. We also offer various methods of crawlspace repair, waterproofing, and mold remediation to keep your home healthy all over.
Call us as soon as you see a foundation crack in your home.