Have you spotted cracks in your foundation? The sight of foundation cracks can be disheartening for any homeowner. It can also be a cause for great anxiety. You may start to wonder what type of damage your foundation has undergone and what can be done about it. Your top fear will probably be how much it will cost to repair the foundation.
Before you go into full panic mode, take some time to call a waterproofing contractor. A full inspection of your basement will help to determine just how bad the situation is. Many homeowners find that things aren’t as bad as they seem and repairs are often done quickly and affordably.
A waterproofing contractor will help you evaluate the foundation cracks and determine the cause of the cracks. They will help you determine the best way to repair the cracks and deal with any other problems.
Foundation walls aren’t static. They change in size and shape as they cure. They also shift in reaction to environmental conditions including temperature, groundwater and other such conditions. Cracks can occur in foundations as a result of the stress of shifting and curing.
Shrinkage cracks occur in different types of foundations:
- Poured concrete foundations
Shrinkage cracks occur in these foundations as a result of rapid curing, poor mixing of concrete as well as poor reinforcement of the foundation with steel. Changing temperatures can also cause shrinkage cracks when concrete expands and contracts in reaction to temperature changes.
- Brick walls
Bricks aren’t commonly used for the construction of foundations in modern houses. However, many old buildings feature these types of foundations. Shrinkage cracks in brick foundations occur in the mortar between the bricks. The bricks themselves never shrink but continue to expand.
- Block foundations
Shrinkage cracks in these types of foundations appear as cracks of uniform width at the center of the wall. They occur as a result of curing as well as variations in temperature.
Repairing Shrinkage Cracks
Shrinkage cracks in poured concrete and block foundations often aren’t structural. Their repair is therefore not as intensive as when dealing with structural cracks. Shrinkage cracks in brick walls are often a sign of a structural or support problem in the wall.
It is important to talk to a foundation expert in order to determine the best method for repairing the foundation cracks. Ignoring the cracks will only make matters worse. They can easily progress to pose a structural threat to your home.
Jerome Fokas is the President of Select Basement Waterproofing, and has more than 15 years of professional basement waterproofing installation and ownership experience.