How Does Foundation Repair Work? What You Need to Know

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Wisecracks? Cracking jokes? 

These are the types of cracks we love. 

However, cracks in your walls — or anywhere in your house for that matter — can become an area of concern. But how do you know when they are a problem that requires more than a quick fix to remedy?

While some cracks may be serious and need foundation repair, some may be nothing more than paint deep. As a homeowner, you always want to have a bit of knowledge behind you before you call in the professionals! So, what do you need to know about cracks?

If you’re concerned about any cracks, keep on reading. We will tell you what you need to look out for, what you can do, and when to call for backup!

When Are Cracks Serious?

If you have discovered a crack or more than one in your house, it may not be cause for alarm just yet. There are several reasons for cracks to appear, and some you can remedy with a quick fix. So here are a few things to look out for before you panic.

Not all cracks appear immediately and there are a few early indicators of a problem before you see the cracks:

  • Windows and doors that stick when opening or closing
  • Bowed walls
  • Cracked ceilings or walls
  • Walls and floor gaps
  • Sinking foundation
  • Uneven floors

If you have any number of these, you need to keep your eyes peeled for cracks that may appear. The cracks you need to know about are vertical, horizontal, and diagonal cracks.

Vertical Cracks

The most common type of crack, vertical cracks often come from a “settling” house. These are straight up and down cracks or can be slightly diagonal within 30 degrees. These cracks are common in new homes, as the structures shift as they dry out. 

It’s recommended that you don’t get these repaired straight away in case the house still has some shifting today. Otherwise, you will be making endless repairs for your first year! The same applies to hairline cracks that may appear above your windows and doors.

If you have some thin, straight-up-and-down crack you could be dealing with badly taped drywall panels. If you have a vertical crack that runs from the floor to the ceiling on two walls next to each other, however, this may be cause for concern.

Horizontal Cracks

These are your biggest area of concern. Cracks that run horizontally are common in houses that have concrete blocks or bricks as foundations. These cracks are a sign that your foundation is shifting or that there is severe water damage. 

If you notice horizontal cracks in your home, don’t wait to call in the professionals. These are not cracks you wait on, and you need to deal with them as soon as possible. 

Diagonal Cracks

A crack that runs diagonally along your basement wall or a cracked foundation can be caused by one side of the foundation settling lower than the rest. These cracks are often wider on one end than on the other. 

The reason for this crack may be due to where the house was built or the soil under it (if it was built on a slope). It may be a simple repair such as putting up some new guttering to help move the rainwater away from the section of the property that’s prone to flooding.

Get a professional in to have a look and advise.

Causes of Cracking

Several factors can lead to cracks, and the first of these is that soil is often shifting. This can be due to expanding and contracting during temperature cycles, or extreme weather.

Other factors that may be contributing to cracks appearing are :

  • Poor water drainage
  • Tree roots
  • Leaks in your plumbing or basement
  • Poorly planned building
  • Environmental reasons such as flood, drought, earthquakes, or frost heave

What Can You Do?

Foundation repairs can become a costly exercise, and you may be wondering if your homeowner’s insurance covers these types of things. The answer varies from insurance to insurance and is largely dependent on the reason for the damage.

Check with your insurance company if you are unsure of what they cover.

The best way of protecting foundations is through maintenance. Keep a lookout for leaks and cracks and address them as needed. Keep the soil around your foundation hydrated in the dry season, and make sure your gutters are funneling water away properly. 

Look out for any tree roots that may start to push into your foundation, and don’t plant trees too close to the house. This is asking for trouble as they grow bigger, and it’s hard to know what damage is being done underground. 

The Repairs

Any repairs that may need to be done on your foundations will depend on the type of foundation you have. Two of the most common methods of repairs are I-Beam installation or carbon fiber strap installation.  Both of these require a Structural Engineer’s report.  Additionally, we perform crack repairs when water is the only problem vs an actual structural issue. 

I Beam Installation

Large heavy duty I Beams are installed against the wall.  We tie them beside the footer and attach them to the floor joists on your basement ceiling.  These support the wall and prevent any future movement of the wall.  

Carbon Fiber Installation 

Carbon fiber straps are applied to the wall with epoxy.  They are secured beside the footer and to the ledger board or floor joists, as determined by the structural engineer.  The benefit of carbon fiber straps is that they are smooth against the wall and you lose zero living space along your walls.  

Crack Repairs

With a vertical or slightly diagonal crack, we can repair the foundation so that water does not leak into the basement.  We use a double layered approach that comes with a lifetime warranty. 

High-Quality Foundation Repair

Cracks can be nothing, or they can mean an urgent foundation repair is needed before the structural integrity of your house is damaged. Whenever you find a crack, do a quick assessment. But if you are unsure, it’s always better to consult professionals.

If you would like more information about cracks, or if you have one that needs looking at, don’t delay. Give us a call today and one of our friendly team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.