Repairing Cracked Foundations – Starting with the Root Cause
Failing to start with the root cause of faulty foundations is one of the most common mistakes made by homeowners when repairing cracked foundations. This is often the result of inexperience or lack of knowledge and proper training.
Many homeowners who attempt to DIY repairs of cracked foundations do so with the good intention of saving money. However, they end up spending more money as they fail to resolve the root cause of the foundation cracks. The damage to the foundation becomes even worse than before, making it hard and expensive to resolve.
These cracks are characterized by:
- Small size (they are often 1 to 2 mm in size)
- Occurring on plaster
- Occurring at door and window corners
- Narrow width (they are often less than 1/8 inch in width)
- Vertical or diagonal shape
These cracks are often caused by movement of the foundation due to moisture or thermal changes. The most common causes of these cracks include:
- Vegetation or trees
- Natural shifting or movement of the foundation
- Increased hydrostatic pressure
These cracks do not affect the structure of the home. However, if the root cause of the cracks is not resolved, the cracks can develop into structural cracks.
These cracks often display the following characteristics:
- Continuous horizontal shape
- Some cracks are vertical. These cracks are much wider at the top and become narrow toward the bottom.
- They are wider than an 1/8 inch
- The cracks extend to the upper levels of the home
- The cracks occur in the foundation slab as well as the supporting beams
- Cracks in block foundations have a stair-step appearance
These cracks often occur alongside other signs of foundation issues including:
- Sticking of doors or windows
- Slanting of doors
- Slopping of floors
- Appearance of cracks in porches
These cracks are often caused by:
- Swelling soils
- Overloading of soils or poor bearing of load by the soils
- Poor construction practices
Repairing cracked foundations for the long term
If you want to protect your basement in the long run, it’s important to address the root cause of any issues. Any good contractor will help you identify and address the root cause of the foundation cracks. This will ensure that the problem does not continue to cause issues in your foundation. You can rest assured that the repair on your foundation will be a long term investment.
Talk to your foundation repair contractor to learn more about different cracks and their causes.