Cracks in foundations, whether concrete blocks or bricks, can be disturbing. You may get nervous and start to wonder if they're harmless or serious. Not all foundation cracks are necessarily bad. In fact, most cracks are quite normal and the good news is that they can be fixed.
Foundations crack for many reasons, including unstable soils, 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 some 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 about 2 inches.
This movement of the soil is just one reason why foundations crack or fail. A number of things should alert you to the possibility that you are not dealing with just one simple problem. The first is a crack more than a quarter of an inch wide. If you have such a crack, contact the foundation repair contractor immediately.
The other sign is the number of cracks in the base. It's normal to have some cracks. But if you have a lot of cracks that cut along the length or width of the base, it's a bad sign. Most foundation cracks are common in new and older 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. Yeah, and they're usually no reason to panic.
In fact, most cracks in a poured concrete base are a natural result of foundation settling and shrinkage of concrete during the curing process and can be easily repaired or simply left alone. But if the cracks are abnormally large or allow leaks to enter the home, they are often a sign of a more serious structural problem. By inspecting your home, they will be able to determine the type of crack and recommend a corrective solution. Check back in 6 months, if the crack has continued to grow, call a foundation professional for guidance.
These cracks often occur during a heavy rainy season, especially if you have poor drainage around your home. Shrinkage cracks are usually uniform in width or V-shaped, wider at the top, and decrease or stop before reaching the bottom of the foundation wall. A large number of homes have cracks in their foundations and the older a house becomes, the greater the likelihood that cracks will appear. Here are a number of factors that can lead to cracks in concrete foundations, so determining the cause is not always clear.
Structural cracks are caused by foundation movement and, if not promptly repaired, can threaten the structural integrity of a building. Of the foundation cracks you're likely to encounter, vertical cracks are generally the most common and least serious type of crack you'll encounter. Of the foundation cracks you are likely to encounter, vertical cracks are the least problematic and usually the result of normal foundation settlement. Shrinkage cracks are less likely to require structural monitoring and repair in poured concrete, as they would be expected to continue after initial cure.
However, if you have discovered a crack in the base, you may be wondering if all the cracks in the base are the same or if certain cracks should be more of a concern than others. Because of the risks they pose to your home and loved ones, structural cracks should be repaired by a competent foundation repair contractor as soon as possible. The wise owner or buyer should really look at the big picture to determine the severity of foundation cracks. The wetter the concrete mix is initially, the more shrinkage will occur, which will increase the likelihood of cracks forming.
Ultimately, however, any cracks you discover in the foundation of your home should be taken seriously and professionally inspected and repaired so that you can ensure the structural integrity of your home. . .