Foundation Repair
How to Recognize a Foundation Crack and What to Do About it
4 months, 2 weeks ago Posted in: Foundation Repair 0
How to Recognize a Foundation Crack and What to Do About it

During seasonal changes, temperatures can fluctuate in a short period of time which can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation. Even if you have not experienced them, you have probably heard terrible stories of shifting foundations and water damage that can be expensive to repair. How can you know if a small crack can turn into a bigger problem later? You can hire a professional to perform an inspection, but then the concerns about major remediation procedures and time frame present themselves. Keep reading to learn more about symptoms, causes, and remedies of foundation cracks.

How to Recognize a Serious Crack?

Every type of crack has its own symptoms as well as repair processes. Once a crack appears, it is easy to see. Some of the most common foundation cracks are called ‘wall shrinkage cracks’ and ‘wall settling cracks.

Wall shrinkage cracks commonly appear beneath windows, on top of doors, at step-down areas, and in the center of a wall in the basement. These cracks usually form vertically on the basement wall. They often start wider on top and become thinner as they continue down the wall. Some of these cracks can result in basement leaks. If you have foundation walls, brick walls, or concrete foundation walls, you should be aware of wall shrinkage cracks!

Aside from wall shrinkage cracks, there are also wall settling cracks. These cracks usually appear after construction. These are long cracks on the wall that form all the way to the floor. They can even continue to crack through the floor or can widen over time, which can also cause basement leaks.

For this reason, it is important that you contact a specialist at the right time to deal with any foundation cracks before they become worse.

How to Accurately Determine the Size of the Crack?

After recognizing the crack, it is crucial for you to be precise and clear while describing the damage and size of the crack to a professional. This is because preparation will focus on the type of foundation, materials, size, location, and shape of the crack. There are good reference items that can be used when measuring cracks. For instance, 1/32” equals the width of a credit card, 1/16” equals to the width of a nickel, and 1/8” equals to the width of two nickels. If you do not feel confident in accurately measuring your basement cracks with a measuring tape these alternatives will help you evaluate and inspect your foundation before contacting and seeking help from a professional.

What are Some of the Solutions?

Foundation repairs can happen on the inside as well as the outside of your foundation. The level of damage created by the crack is usually what determines an appropriate solution.

If the cracks are very serious and extensive repairs are needed, excavation and reconstruction will be necessary. Hydraulic cement will be used to fill large cracks because this cement expands as it dries, which creates a seal to prevent leakage. Afterwards, a rubberized coating is applied creating a rubbery membrane with 100% water resistance. This is a very effective process because it combines drainage and basement waterproofing components to prevent the recurrence of problems.

You can, on the other hand, deal with small cracks or non-structural cracks on the exterior or interior of your foundation by marking them with some measurements and checking them after a few months to see if there is a change in the size of the crack. If the crack has grown, then you should contact a professional foundation specialist to assess the damage and suggest a solution.

The solution processes depends on the size and the damage that the cracks can cause in the future. Ensure that you are using the appropriate methods to protect your home from cracks and further damage.

The Appropriate Time to Repair Cracked Floor Slab Settlement

When cracked floor slab settlements have exceeded 3/16” in width, it is recommended by the Canadian Association of Homebuilders to initiate repairs. Even if structural concerns are not evident, cracks of a certain size should be repaired promptly to prevent any hazardous consequences later.

Cracks Should be Separated into Three Categories

There are different categories for wall and floor cracks. This is so that individuals can use the appropriate procedures under the different categories and scenarios. The three categories are Cosmetic, Monitoring needed, and Significant cracks. With cosmetic cracks, no further repair is required. For cracks that fall into the monitoring needed category, individuals will need to be observant of the cracks and watch for worsening conditions or changes. At last, if the crack falls into the significant category, it can create unsafe conditions, has the risk of collapsing or leaking, and needs immediate repair.

Small cracks require remedial work within a short period of time because they will deteriorate quickly. With these cracks it is beneficial to have a professional inspection conducted occasionally to assist in identifying potential damages and to assess the time needed for each repair.

A crack can seem small but can begin a domino effect if it is not repaired in a short period of time or in the appropriate manner. Contact G J MacRae, your foundation specialists in the GTA,  for more information or if you need assistance with any repairs!

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