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What Do Cracks in your Foundation Walls or Basement Floors Indicate in South Bend?

Did you find a crack or cracks in foundation wall surfaces or basement flooring at your South Bend, Indiana home? You may be confused and stressed out about this discovery. What do these cracks mean? Where can you turn for help? As it turns out, Acculevel’s foundation and basement repair experts know how to fix a cracked foundation in South Bend or repair basement flooring cracks. But, as a homeowner, it can be helpful for you to understand the different types of cracks that may appear around your house – and what causes them – before you get in touch with us to address the problem.

Foundation Cracks and Causes

There are three main types of foundation cracks that you should be aware of. They are as follows:

Stair Step Cracks: Stair step cracks may be caused by soil pressure or settlement that causes damage to mortar joints between the blocks that make up a foundation wall. They are called stair step cracks because they tend to form a stair-like pattern throughout the wall. This type of damage signals a need for repair.

Vertical Cracks: Vertical cracks usually occur as a result of soil settlement, which creates excessive pressure on a foundation’s walls that can lead to the formation of cracks. These types of cracks can lead to moisture buildup and flooding within the home, and should be repaired as soon as possible by an experienced foundation contractor.

Horizontal Cracks: Horizontal cracks tend to be very serious in nature. They are usually caused by heavy soil pressure against foundation walls from outside your home. This pressure can lead to bowing or buckling walls, which can lead to caving in or severe cracking that threatens the overall structure. If you notice horizontal cracks at your South Bend home, immediate repair by a trusted contractor is required.

While changes in soil pressure and settlement are the most common causes of foundation cracks – causes that are quite common in the Midwest due to changing seasons and weather patterns – defects at the time of construction or shrinkage of mortar and concrete can also cause cracking. Check with a professional at Acculevel for more information on the type of foundation cracks you are dealing with and what their causes may be.

Basement Floor Cracks and Causes

Basement flooring cracks are not usually as serious as cracks in foundation, since they are not a source of support for your home’s structure, they still may indicate a larger foundational issue that must be addressed. Here are the four most common types of cracks that you may notice in your basement floor:

Perimeter Cracks: Perimeter cracks are usually about ½ inches wide and appear where a basement floor meets the basement foundation wall. They can be caused by a failure by the original contractor to tie the flooring into the foundation via steel reinforcement. This error can lead to the floor shrinking away from the foundation’s walls. These usually do not indicate a larger structural problem and can be sealed with a special kind of caulk.

Hairline Cracks: Hairline cracks are fine cracks that usually form as a result of shrinking on the surface of the floor while the concrete is drying. They can be jagged or straight, and sometimes resemble a spider web. You will usually notice these cracks anytime during the first year after the floor is poured. Fortunately, these types of cracks are cosmetic in nature and do not indicate a larger issue – they do not need to be repaired.

Wide Cracks: If you notice a basement floor crack that is wider than 1/8 of an inch, it should be sealed, possibly with professional help. These wide cracks require special caulking like perimeter cracks, but they need to be sealed sufficiently to keep radon gas, moisture and other outside threats away from your home’s interior. They are usually caused by shrinkage, much like hairline cracks.

Settling Cracks: Cracks caused by settling usually appear due to a foundation defect that causes slab to settle. The settlement leads to the slab cracking from its own weight. This pressure can create an uneven surface that can be hazardous for anyone walking on it. Contact our foundation experts to learn more about fixing settlement cracks.

Contact our basement and foundation repair experts if you notice any of the above cracks in your basement flooring. We can assess the damage and help you find a solution to the cracking.

Foundation Repair Options in South Bend

From foundation cracks to basement flooding and mold issues, Acculevel has the South Bend foundation repair and basement improvement options you need to get your home back in order. Fill out our convenient contact form or give us a call to get started with your free estimate and in-home evaluation with our Indiana team.

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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