Do All Foundation Cracks Spell Trouble?
June 22, 2021
Noticing a crack in your foundation never feels good. Most often, homeowners overreact when they see them and undertake unnecessary or harmful solutions. These solutions are often aesthetic and don't do much to fix the underlying issues ailing the foundation; as a result, the issue keeps getting worse unnoticed. Many times, once a professional is called in to assess the situation, it is already too late.
While you may not be noticing cracks in your foundation, your home could still be settling unevenly. Some common symptoms of uneven foundation settlement include sticking doors and windows, gapping ceilings, and uneven floors. These are all linked to a settling foundation. If you notice any of these things, the best thing you can do is contact a professional in your area. A professional will take a long, hard look at your foundation and help you understand what is going on with your home.
We put this post together to help you understand when it is important to call in a professional. We know you want to get to the root of the problem, so keep reading.
Will All Foundation Cracks Require Foundation Repair?
While cracks may be unsettling, they are not always the whole story. They could indicate problems with your foundation, but they also may not. Some cracks, despite being unpleasant to look at, are perfectly fine. We call these benign cracks.
An example of a perfectly benign and harmless crack is a hairline crack occurring shortly after the foundation has been poured. These cracks come about as a result of the concrete drying and curing process. No action is necessary with these cracks, but it is recommended that you keep an eye on them. If they get bigger, it may be time to call in an expert. However, for the most part, they are no cause for alarm.
One thing we want to mention at this point is that foundation cracks don't give us much to go off. That is to say, you can't tell much about what caused the crack by just looking at it. In our experience, most cracks are actually caused by movement in the soil. Many cracks come about because the construction crew that originally built the home didn't properly prepare it. The soil underneath your home may not have been compacted properly, which left it loose and liable to shift at some point as a result of flooding or natural soil erosion. A lot goes into figuring out what's causing your foundation cracks, which is why it is important to call in professionals as soon as possible. Doing so can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
When Should You Worry About Foundation Cracks?
Some sinking of the foundation is normal, particularly after a home has just been built. No matter how much time a construction crew spends compacting the soil under your foundation, it will give way at least a little bit under the weight of the structure. In the first three years after a foundation has been poured, it is normal to expect to see some hairline cracks. However, if you are seeing cracks in the concrete block walls or on the exterior of the home, you will need to take action. While hairline cracks may be OK, any gaps that are wider than a quarter of an inch are cause for concern.
Furthermore, horizontal cracks are more worrisome than vertical ones. The reason horizontal cracks are more troublesome is that they indicate your foundation may be settling unevenly and at an alarming rate. If you notice horizontal cracks, your home is under a dangerous amount of stress. It's time to bring in the professionals.
The following are some telltale signs that your foundation may be in trouble:
- Misaligned windows and doors
- Bowing walls
- Drywall cracks
- Large, jagged cracks
- Sagging, uneven floors
- Tile and brickwork cracks
Which Foundation Repair Solution Is Best for Me?
The best solution for the foundation cracks in your home depends on a variety of factors. The decision on which solution to implement should be left to the professionals. However, we wanted to acquaint you with some of the options that are available.
A foundation repair professional will recommend one of the following solutions in line with the severity of the cracks in your basement or crawl space:
Push piers: This nearly universal solution works with most types of soil, but they are most often recommended to be used in homes built on top of questionable soil. Push piers are driven deep into the terrain until they reach bedrock. They will stabilize and can level your home.
Helical piers: Helical piers are a good solution for sunken foundations that are lighter, such as porches and chimneys. Like push piers, helical piers are installed into the ground, except these are “screwed” into the earth. Helical piers also permanently stabilize and have the potential to lift the foundation back toward its original position.
Slab piers: This solution is different from the two mentioned above as it is meant strictly for homes built on a slab foundation. If a home with a slab foundation starts to sink, foundation repair professionals will use slab piers to stabilize and potentially lift your home back to its original position. This protects the interior walls and ensures the longevity of the structure.
Crawl space jacks: Sagging and uneven floors call for a sturdy solution. Our crawl space support jacks help permanently reinforce problematic floor joists and can help lift floors back to level. They also are designed to prevent further sagging and settlement and can be easily adjusted.
Wall anchors: If you have noticed the walls in your basement are starting to bulge or bow as a result of hydrostatic pressure, our wall anchor solution could ensure your home's safety by stabilizing the structure. These anchors also can be tightened to help restore the wall’s original position over time.
Wall brace system: This foundation repair solution is patented and one of the most effective in use today. Our specially designed wall brace system will stabilize foundation walls and can even straighten bowing walls.
Carbon fiber wall reinforcements: This is a great solution for homes with little space around the perimeter for other foundation repair options. Carbon fiber wall reinforcements will hold your walls in place and prevent any further bowing. However, they will not straighten the walls back to their original position.
At Groundworks, we have extensive experience helping homeowners in your area. Reach out to your local foundation repair experts for a free inspection and repair quote today to find out what you can do to ensure the health of your home.