Foundation Repair – What Causes Foundation Cracks and When You Should Worry About Them

A professional will be able to diagnose problems with your foundation and determine the best solution. They will also be able to give you information on preventative measures.

Foundation Repair

The best methods for repairing foundation damage depend on the severity of the problem, the soil conditions and the cost of repair. Some, like concrete slab and steel push pier installation are designed to provide structural stability while others, such as drainage enhancements and root barriers, are more preventative. Contact Sugar Land Foundation Repair for professional help.

Vertical Cracks

When foundation cracks run vertically up or down a wall, they’re usually caused by a change in the soil underneath. This may be the result of a shift in the soil’s load-bearing capacity, or it can be due to a shift in the soil around the footings and foundation walls. These cracks are less likely to cause structural damage than horizontal or diagonal cracks, but they should still be inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Hairline cracks typically appear within a year after construction and are caused by settling and shrinkage of the foundation concrete. They are cosmetic and not a cause for concern unless they start to widen, at which point it’s best to consult with a professional to discuss options for repair.

For non-structural cracks in concrete foundation walls, a good repair solution is epoxy injection. These specialized resins can be injected into narrow fissures in concrete to seal them from water penetration. You can purchase a DIY kit for this project starting at $75, or have a professional perform a polyurethane crack injection to the affected areas of your foundation for $400-$600. The key is to choose a quality epoxy or polyurethane filler specifically designed for foundation repairs, and make sure to clean the damaged area thoroughly before injecting the product. Then, monitor the crack for recurrence and consult a specialist should it need to be repaired again.

Cracks in foundation walls that are leaking should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and potential health issues. Moisture infiltration through a faulty foundation can lead to mold and mildew growth, and it’s also a sign that the foundation may be compromised by water pressure or shifting of the supporting soil. A home with a leaking foundation can lose 10% of its value, and the longer it’s left untreated, the worse it gets.

Horizontal cracks are a more serious issue, as they will usually move across the surface of a foundation or a connecting wall and compromise a large area of support. These cracks are more common in older homes and are often caused by a combination of settling and soil (or hydrostatic) pressure. They’re more difficult to repair and should be inspected by a qualified contractor.

Horizontal Cracks

Seeing horizontal cracks in your home’s foundation is usually an indication that there is a serious issue at hand. These are often the result of hydrostatic pressure (water pressure) and can lead to foundation failure. The more serious they are, the faster you need to get them repaired.

These cracks appear across the wall and often follow a stair-step pattern. They may also have a “U” shape or be elongated at the ends. Horizontal cracks are typically caused by hydrostatic pressure, soil settlement or bowing walls. They are usually much more serious than vertical cracks and may require immediate repair.

While hairline cracks are a normal part of the settling process, wider gaps should be addressed immediately to prevent water intrusion. For these, epoxy or polyurethane injection is a great solution to fill the gap and provide structural stability.

Cracks accompanied by water leaks are another cause for concern as they can be indicative of a major problem. If these are occurring in a basement, it is likely time to consider a foundation drainage system.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for new cracks in the foundation that could worsen over time. These should be inspected by an expert, who will recommend the best course of action to resolve them.

The most effective repair method for this type of problem is underpinning. For this, push or helical piers are installed to extend the foundation down to load-bearing soil. Synchronized hydraulic jacks then lift the building to its maximum practical level. This will close the horizontal cracks and stabilize the foundation.

The best way to avoid a foundation failure is to regularly inspect your home’s foundation and act quickly on any problems. With this, you can catch a small crack early before it gets out of hand and save yourself from costly repairs in the future. It’s also a good idea to stay on top of your landscaping, as overgrown trees or plants near your foundation can affect the soil conditions around it. In addition, heavy excavation next to the foundation can destabilize it.

Stair-Step Cracks

Stair-step cracks are a warning sign of structural problems and should be addressed as soon as possible. They form as vertical cracks on foundation walls and resemble steps in the mortar, with some of the steps appearing wider than others. Stair-step cracks can cause significant damage to your home if moisture seeps through them and damages the structure. They are also an indication of a problem with soil settlement, which can lead to other issues such as wall bowing.

These cracks tend to appear in block foundations, but can also occur in poured foundations. They usually start in the corners of your foundation and move vertically along the walls. They may begin as thin, pin-size cracks and widen to several inches in length over time.

If you notice stair-step cracks, it is important to track their progress and contact a foundation repair specialist right away. These cracks are most likely caused by differential settlement and hydrostatic pressure that affects the foundation walls. Using helical piers to stabilize your foundation will stop future settlement and close the cracks that have already formed.

Differential settlement is a common issue for homeowners, especially in older homes that have not been maintained well. This can happen when the soil beneath your foundation shifts, causing your house to sink. A professional can install helical piers underneath your house to support the weight of your foundation and prevent further sinking and damage to your home.

Waterproofing solutions can also be a temporary solution for addressing stair-step cracks, but they are not a permanent fix and should only be used as a short-term measure. It is much better to have a foundation team inspect your home and recommend the ideal solutions for your unique situation.

If you have noticed hairline cracks in your foundation, doors and windows that don’t open or close properly, or gaps or separation in drywall, call a professional right away. A specialist can perform a thorough inspection of your home and determine the root cause of the cracks, which is typically due to soil settling or poor drainage. Depending on the severity of your cracking, a foundation specialist may recommend solutions such as push or helical piers to repair and stabilize your foundation.

Diagonal Cracks

Foundation cracks are a common problem that many homeowners will experience at some point in their home’s life. Understanding what causes them and when you should worry about them will help you get the right foundation repair done before it becomes a serious issue.

When you see a foundation crack, it’s important to take note of its size, location on the house and the direction of the crack. A widening of the crack or a change in direction could be an indicator of a more serious structural issue and need to be repaired immediately.

Cracks that are vertical, stair-step or diagonal can indicate serious problems with the stability of your foundation. These cracks can be caused by differential settlement of your foundation or unstable soil conditions. They are usually wider at one end than the other.

Structural cracks that are wider than a quarter inch should be addressed right away by a qualified professional. These cracks are often accompanied by other signs of foundation movement like bowing walls and doors and windows that are difficult to open or close.

Diagonal cracks that run at an angle of 30 to 70 degrees from vertical on your foundation or basement wall are not as dangerous as vertical cracks. These cracks are likely caused by the natural settling of your foundation or shrinkage of concrete foundation walls. They may also indicate that a portion of your foundation is sinking or rising at a different rate than the rest.

Hairline cracks that are thin and short can be a normal part of the settling of your foundation. They can occur in concrete slabs as well as drywall and are not a cause for concern unless they are causing a leak. To determine whether a hairline crack is significant, test it by squeezing a nickel into the crack. If the crack widens, it is likely time to call a foundation specialist. If it doesn’t, you can wait six months and then check the crack again to see if it has changed.