The average home weighs 50 tons. The average weight of its foundation in 7½ tons.
While the foundation of a home is meant to last as long as the house still stands, sometimes a homeowner finds cracks. The reasons why a foundation cracks range from roots and shrubs to insufficient compacting.
Either way, it’s time for some foundation crack repair. Most homeowners have no idea about their home’s foundation.
That makes it difficult to know what questions to ask when they find cracks in their foundation. We want to help.
Keep reading while we ask and answer the five most commonly asked questions about foundation crack repair.
How to Tell When Foundation Crack Repair is Necessary
Foundation cracks are not always a sign something is amiss. It could just be a minor issue that you don’t have to worry about.
However, it is a smart idea to monitor the cracks to see if you notice they are increasing in size. Tracking cracks will provide useful feedback to the repair professionals, should you need to use one.
Use a pencil to mark off and date the ends of each crack you see. If the crack doesn’t increase, it’s due to natural settling. If it gets worse, it could indicate a more serious issue.
The Difference Between Horizontal and Vertical Foundation Cracks
A vertical/diagonal crack in the wall of your foundation happens when the concrete foundation settles. It’s very common with new construction.
Concrete shrinks as it cures, which is why they’re known as shrinkage cracks. Vertical foundation cracks tend to be found in the middle section of walls. They are less than 1/8 inch wide.
It’s also common to find vertical cracks in block foundations. If you note that the crack is closer to a corner than the middle and is wider than 1/8 inch, this typically is a sign a more serious issue is going on. At this point, a professional repair person needs to get involved.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
Horizontal foundation cracks are almost always indicative of a more serious issue. These cracks occur due to hydrostatic (water) pressure that comes from the outside of the walls.
If left untreated, it can lead to the foundation failing. While foundations are designed to handle the pressure from the soil and water, when added pressure due to heavy rains or flooding happens, serious cracks can result.
Always contact a repair professional as soon as you spot horizontal foundation cracks.
1. Can Cracks Leak?
If a crack is left unfixed for too long, it will eventually leak. While you can fix just the cracks that are currently leaking, you’ll end up eventually having the repair person making multiple trips to fix new leaking cracks.
In areas where there are multiple cracks, some cracks will provide less resistance to the water than others. That means they will also leak first.
It’s worth the investment to have all cracks repaired at once. That way, you won’t have one fixed only to find the water just looked for the next available crack to come through.
2. How Long Will the Repairs Take?
It usually takes between two and three days to repair cracks in a foundation. However, the time frame may be greater if the scope of work is more complicated.
Also, you’ll have to wait a bit to fix any additional mortar and drywall cracks. How long the wait will depend on how much your home was lifted.
Most often, you’re asked to wait between four and six weeks after foundation repairs to allow your walls time to adjust to their new position.
3. Will the Foundation Repairs Affect My Plumbing?
The plumbing pipes are underneath and attached to your foundation. When a slab foundation settles, it’s possible the pipes can get damaged.
It’s also possible to damage your pipes when the house gets lifted back towards its original position. For best results and to minimize damage, get a third party plumbing test performed either before or after the foundation repair job is completed.
4. Will Repairing the Foundation Cause New Cracks or Fix Any of the Existing Cracks?
No repair job is alike. The concrete repair professional’s primary focus is on stabilizing the foundation. Their next goal is to lift the foundation.
Whether cracks can be repaired or if new cracks may appear largely depends on how well the structure cooperates while it’s being fixed.
Existing Cracks Can Be Fixed
It’s not uncommon for existing cracks to close if no dirt or debris is present in the cracks to prevent them from closing.
Existing cracks may also close if no remodeling is performed after the foundation failure happens. However, if the foundation failure is too severe, any attempts to close the cracks can create even more collateral damage.
Brickwork cracks can be tuck pointed. Drywall interior cracks can be patched and painted. And foundation cracks can often be fixed with epoxy injections.
5. When is a Foundation Beyond Repair?
Thankfully, most cracks in a foundation are repairable. Usually, sealing the cracks to prevent water intrusion works. If recommended by a structural engineer, I-beams can be installed.
However, there are times when a foundation may be considered to be irreparable. That can happen when the cost to repair the foundation won’t add enough value to the home.
Fortunately, this rarely happens and usually, if it does, it’s because the foundation has totally collapsed causing irreversible damage to the home.
What You Never Want Your Foundation to Look Like
Here are the worst signs that your foundation may be beyond repair:
- You can fit a dime through a crack in the foundation
- There are cracks that change direction
- There are bulges in the walls due to water pressure
- The vertical foundation cracks are wider at the top than at the bottom
- You see weak and sloping floors above the foundation
If you spot any of these issues, immediately contact a repair expert. The walls may be in danger of collapsing.
When in doubt, contact the professionals to help you determine what type of foundation crack repair you need.
Our team of professionals can help you determine the next steps you need to take to insure your home stays structurally sound. Contact us to get started.Share