As houses age, they settle over time. This is a natural occurrence that isn’t cause for concern in itself. However, natural settling shouldn’t cause cracks in your property’s foundation. Foundations are designed to withstand the natural settling of the environment around it. If you see cracks in your property’s foundation, you could be facing a serious and potentially costly problem.
Why are Cracks in a Foundation Bad?
Regardless of width, length, or shape, cracks in the foundation are not good news. When a foundation cracks, that means your foundation itself is moving. Over time, this will lead to structural problems with your home. Foundation walls can bow or bend from excess pressure, and potentially collapse.
- Cracks in your foundation can also lead to water damage, as water can seep through and into your basement. As water leaks in, the crack will spread at a faster rate, and undermine the integrity of your home that much faster.
- Termites can be another problem, since cracks make it that much easier to get into your home. Both of these will lead to further problems with your home.
- Cracks may also be indicative that your foundation is degrading. If your foundation is degrading, water entering through cracks in the foundation will cause it to erode at a faster rate. Degrading foundations most commonly occur in houses from the early 1900’s, such as those in the In town Atlanta area. Degrading foundations can also occur in properties where the concrete solution is improperly made.
Tip: You can test if your foundation is solid by taking a screwdriver and poking at a few different areas. The concrete should be solid and not flake or chip when prodded. If the concrete flakes at all, it’s a sign that your foundation is deteriorating. The only solution to this is a new foundation.
When you find a crack in your home’s foundation, the most important thing you can do is take care of the issue as soon as possible. The problem will not stop or slow down; it will only spread and become more expensive and problematic as time goes on.
Causes of Foundation Problems
Foundational problems can stem from a variety of reasons.
- Improperly Mixed Foundation Solutions: Foundations which contain too much water or sand will not set properly, and can erode over time.
- Improperly Poured or Supported Foundations: Without proper installation and support, foundations may have baseline resistance to changes in exterior soil pressure, or could have flaws in the drainage system.
- Floods and Droughts: Both change the usual soil pressure around the foundation, causing it to move.
- Earthquakes: Fortunately, earthquakes don’t regularly affect Atlanta. Strong earthquakes can shift or weaken foundations, while weak earthquakes can make small cracks in your foundation worse.
- Extreme Heat: Prolonged exposure to intense sunlight can cause concrete to expand during the day. At night, the concrete can shrink back to its usual position. Over time, this can lead to foundations cracking.
- Freezing During Winter: Regular exposure to the freeze and thaw cycle can cause concrete to crack. Concrete freezes at 18 degrees and melts at 35 degrees.
- Plumbing Leaks: Excess water leaking into your basement can cause soil to expand and cause excess pressure against the foundation. This will weaken the foundation and make it more susceptible to issues with structural integrity.
How to Seal and Repair Cracked Foundations
If you’re an avid ‘DIY’ person, you may be wondering how to repair cracks in your basement’s foundation.
For the most part, you can repair cracks in your foundation with either an Epoxy Injection System or Hydraulic Cement, which vary in price but usually run between $30 – $400, depending on how much you need and the type of kit you purchase.
Remove any loose concrete with a loose wire brush before starting. You’ll also want to make sure that the crack is dry before injecting the solution into the crack. Specific steps will vary depending on the brand you use. Always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions!
For most kits, you’ll generally inject the solution into the crack and spread any excess evenly along the seam. Smooth down uneven surfaces with sandpaper.
Other Ways to Repair Cracks in Your Basement’s Foundation
In some cases, the cracks in your basement’s foundation will require professional work. If your foundation has cracked following water damage, don’t wait for it to turn into a structural problem, call Tidal Wave Response! We work with your insurance company to handle all aspects of the claims coverage process, so you can get as much coverage as possible!