It’s easy to recognize that cracks in your basement walls and foundation likely are because of water damage, but does that mean the cracks running through your garage floor are because of the same thing?
Some cracks are deliberate — meaning the contractors who poured the concrete created cracks to weaken the concrete in that area. The idea is that when the garage foundation eventually begins to crack, it will follow the designated straight lines. Since the installation of control joints is intentional, it’s not something a homeowner needs to worry about.
In the Beginning
Before concrete is poured for the garage foundation, gravel and/or sand needs to be tamped down to create a hard, unshifting surface upon which the concrete will go. If that level is not tamped correctly, it can shift downward under the concrete’s weight, creating cracks.
When contractors first pour the garage foundation, the concrete can take up to a month to properly cure (harden). If something heavy is placed on it before that time, it weakens the concrete and usually results in future cracks.
Numerous extremely shallow cracks may appear in curvy geometric shapes. These are called crazing cracks, and they happen when concrete is applied incorrectly. Poor troweling and improper concrete placement cause crazing cracks. There’s no need to worry about the structural integrity of the garage foundation if you see this cracking pattern.
If your garage’s concrete slab was reinforced with steel rebar, it may crack if the rebar rusts, which causes expansion. The steel presses against the concrete and can erode and weaken the slab where it touches. The pressure sometimes can be great enough to cause pieces of concrete to flake off or fall apart. Either the rebar will be exposed, or if not enough concrete was used, you will see straight lines running parallel to one another every one or two feet.
What It Means
The cracks you should be concerned about the most are wide cracks and ones where one side of the concrete is higher than the other. You also should worry about the appearance of numerous cracks that are not crazing cracks. These signs are indicative of the foundation moving. Check the rest of your home, including the basement and house foundation to determine if the soil around your home is shifting.
What You Should Do
If you only have a few minor cracks, you don’t need to do anything at this time — unless you feel you must. If you do, go ahead and fill in the cracks with a concrete epoxy. Otherwise, have a professional foundation company check out your garage floor. It could be rusted rebar, but it also could be that soil saturation affected your entire home, so it’s important to get the home’s foundation checked out to avoid major problems in the future.
If you notice your home is unlevel, windows and doors are getting stuck or don’t latch, the floor sags, or there are cracks in the ceiling, you’re looking at foundation damage. What is affecting your home’s foundation and basement walls likely is affecting the garage floor as well.
Acculevel Takes a Look at Everything
It’s important to make sure all foundations are in good shape, whether it is your home’s foundation or that of your garage. At Acculevel, we have the knowledge and expertise to look at both and determine what underlying issue might be causing the cracks in your garage floor. Since 1996, we have specialized in basements and foundation, and we know that if the garage floor has major problems, there’s likely something wrong with your home’s foundation. But we won’t try to sell you a service you don’t need, so if the garage floor has cracks but the house foundation is fine, we will tell you that. If you have concerns about your garage floor, contact us at (866) 669-3349 or [email protected].