Perhaps you noticed a small crack in the basement wall behind the washing machine and thought, “No big deal.” However, every crack in a foundation and/or basement wall has the potential to become a big deal. Even if a few hairline cracks are because of a home’s initial settling after construction, those cracks open the door to moisture and worsening structural integrity.
How Cracks Appear
If your home is not a new construction, those few hairline cracks are the results of failed waterproofing. This means water has saturated the soil around your foundation; the soil has expanded and has been pressing in against the concrete, causing it to crack. Cracks that form in this manner don’t happen overnight or even over a week. It takes consistent pressure for a significant duration to cause concrete cracks in a foundation.
Cracks eventually will widen and/or increase in frequency if they are not sealed. In addition to continued soil pressure, water itself can run through the splits and wear away the concrete. It’s best to hire a professional to seal cracks because even though there are DIY products, you want to make sure the cracks are sealed completely and in a manner that stops expansion.
Failure to Address Issues
A few cracks here and there may not sound like something to worry about, but soil and water pressure present dangers to a foundation. After fixing obvious issues, you need to talk to a specialist about where water is affecting your home and how to prevent it. If you fail to address the root of the problem, the damage will continue to occur.
Cracks and crumbling concrete could worsen into bowed walls. Moisture in the air can create toxic mold. Your chimney might start leaning, as might your entire house if the foundation shifts enough.
When the foundation shifts, that shifting affects the floor joists, which hold up the first floor. This could result in structural damage and an unlevel first floor. As wood support moves, it also may affect windows and doors, with windowpanes cracking and doors not closing properly. You also might see unlevel doorjambs and windowsills. Floors may begin to sag and long cracks might show up in the ceiling.
If your foundation already has severe damage, it could need a lift or need to be replaced. Needing to replace an entire foundation is about as bad as it can get. You’ll end up having to move out for a while as repairs are done.
In addition to filling cracks, repairs may include mold remediation, structural support, and slabjacking. Structural support can involve wall anchors and helical pier, and steel beams put into position at points outside the foundation to provide added support and keep the foundation from further shifting. Slabjacking is a method of lifting the foundation by means of injecting expandable foam into the soil under the concrete slab. The foam fills air pockets in the soil. If the pockets are not filled, dirt and water move into them, creating more soil shifting under the foundation.
It’s best to hire a basement and foundation expert as soon as you spot anything wrong. Waiting to have things fixed is a recipe for trouble. Once the repair(s) is made, take preventive measures to waterproof your home.
Acculevel Is Your Expert for Fixing a Foundation
We know that it can be hard to make the call to do something that will cost you money, but a foundation is worth every penny you spend fixing it. It is the base of your home. At Acculevel, we understand that you worked hard to earn your money, and we promise never to overcharge or look for ways to make an extra buck. We believe in honesty and integrity, and all our staff members are experts in their field, with plenty of experience under their belts. If you live in the Midwest and are in need of foundation, basement, or crawl space services, call us at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected] to schedule an appointment for your free in-home estimate.