If you find any cracks in your foundation, don’t panic. It’s not necessarily a sign of trouble or indicating that you need to move. However, it does require attention, and the sooner you can address it, the better off your home will be.
Why Does Concrete Crack?
The concrete foundation is made of cement, sand, and water. As these dry out over time, the shrinkage can create cracks in your foundation. The cement isn’t as strong as the concrete it’s mixed with and can even crack under heavy stress on its own. As it dries out, it shrinks and causes smaller cracks that run through the rest of your wall; when that happens at different rates throughout various parts of your home, a more severe problem can result.
Signs That Your Foundation Is Cracked
A cracked foundation is a common problem. There are many ways your home can develop cracks in its foundation, which means there are several ways to fix them.
Signs that your home foundation may need to be repaired include:
- Cracks or holes on the exterior of your home.
- Cracks in interior walls or ceilings, especially where there are other signs of structural damage.
- Cracks in floors and slabs run perpendicular to the load transfer direction (straight down from walls and roof).
A hairline crack vs. a wide crack
- Hairline cracks are the most common foundation cracks and are only a few inches long. They’re caused by regular settlement or gradually sinking into your home’s soil over time. These cracks aren’t usually a cause for concern, but they can become problematic if they spread outward and widen in width.
- Wide cracks are generally caused by foundation settlement or shifting due to an unevenly-compacted soil base under your house. These cracks should be addressed immediately because they allow water and moisture into your basement—which could lead to mold growth and structural damage down the road.
What if there is a bulge along with the crack
It’s essential to figure out what’s causing the bulge. It may be because of water damage from below or above if it’s a cracked foundation. In some cases, there is no crack at all, and instead of being caused by water damage or subsidence (sinking), it’s just due to poor construction practices when building your home.
The best way to see if you have a problem with your foundations is by going through an inspection with an expert who will determine whether or not they need repair based on their observations.
How to keep your foundation from cracking any further
If you’re worried about your foundation, there are several steps you can take to help prevent cracks from getting any worse.
- Remove any moisture from the area. Moisture is often a contributing factor in cracked foundations and should be treated as such. You’ll want to ensure that the ground around your foundation stays dry throughout the year by ensuring drainage around it is clear of debris and that grading slopes away at least 2 inches per foot in all directions.
- Remove any debris or dirt buildup on top of your foundation walls. This area must remain clean so moisture doesn’t pool up behind these surfaces, leading to further issues (like mold growth).
- Check for damage outside your home’s walls through its footing areas—the part underneath where concrete meets soil—and ensure everything here is properly supported with rebar (also known as reinforcing rods) and beams if necessary.
If you notice a cracked foundation, don’t wait. Call a foundation repair expert to inspect your home.
You’ll want an estimate from the professional before moving forward with any repair work. The cost will depend on the extent of the damage and how much concrete needs to be removed or repaired. You may also want to include preventative measures like installing drain tiles and underground drainage pipes as part of your plan so that future problems are less likely to occur.
You must choose a contractor insured and licensed by your state or municipality (or both). Many states require licensees who work with basements or crawlspaces below ground level to have no less than five years of experience in their field—the more training they have under their belt, the better equipped they’ll be when working on your home’s foundation! The last thing anyone wants is poorly done repairs leading to another round of costly repairs later. Luckily, plenty of contractors out there know how important getting it done right the first time is for us homeowners!
Before you decide to fix your foundation, you need to do some research and figure out what the best course of action is. If you hire a contractor who doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t have experience in this type of repair work, then it could end up costing you more money than it was worth.
If you’re still unsure whether or not fixing your foundation is right for your home, contact us today so we can discuss options with you!