The foundations can be bent, but only a little, but not much. Cracks often appear on the outside and inside of a base. Cracks that are more than one-eighth of an inch wide usually mean that the base has bent. Foundations crack for many reasons, including unstable soils, poor drainage, and sedimentation.
Cracks can indicate serious structural problems, and others may be negligible. In the United States, approximately 60% of homes are built on soils with a certain clay content; of these, more than half of the homes will be damaged. Soils with a high clay content can result in a foundation having a seasonal movement of 40 to 60 mm, 50 mm equals approximately 2 inches. This movement of the soil is just one reason why foundations crack or fail.
Most foundation cracks are common in new and old homes. In fact, you may start to see cracks in the foundation of a newly built home in as little as a year. The good news is that small cracks can be successfully repaired. However, you need to know the different types of cracks, what causes them and when they need to be addressed.
Cracks in the foundation can cause many questions. Is it just a crack and nothing more? Will it get worse over time? Can it jeopardize the structural integrity of my home, especially the walls? Is there a lasting solution to this problem? These are all genuine and serious questions that need answers. When they appear on a poured concrete foundation wall, shrinkage cracks may be due to poor mixing, premature curing or inadequate steel reinforcement. A non-structural foundation crack is one that does not pose a threat to the structure of the house and usually only leads to leaks during rain storms or when snow melts.
The reason is that you can't deal with cracks effectively if you don't know what you're dealing with. These types of cracks occur along the mortar joints and pose a serious threat to the integrity of the foundation of your basement. Foundations that are not properly sized and engineered for the type of soil and the loads that the foundations bear will create cracks. Additional reinforcement, in the form of staples or carbon fiber countersunk belts, is often necessary to ensure that the crack does not expand.
Because newly built houses can significantly settle in the early years, vertical cracks are very common in both newly built and old houses. Structural cracks in foundations are usually the result of movement, whether caused by changes in temperature, soil pressure or soil shrinkage. It is much cheaper to have a good maintenance and prevention program than to repair a foundation or a house. Cleaning and remediation costs could amount to thousands of dollars, money that would otherwise have been spent on improving your home if you had the crack repaired in time.
As a homeowner, it is important that you know the different types of cracks and what implications they have on your home, as well as the most appropriate solutions for them. Because of the risks they pose to your home and loved ones, a competent foundation repair contractor should repair structural cracks as soon as possible. However, knowing when to call a foundation repair expert will help ease unnecessary anxiety and worry. Vertical cracks in the foundation wall are less severe than horizontal cracks and do not pose a structural threat.