Foundation cracks vary in severity from a simple cosmetic issue to a major structural problem with your home. However, even serious foundation problems, when addressed early on, can be quickly and permanently fixed.
Cracks form in foundation walls for three main reasons:
1. Curing concrete
As concrete cures, it is common for small cracks to appear in foundation walls. These cracks are very common, and they're not a sign of a major foundation problem.
Shrinkage cracks tend to be very small "hairline" cracks that are usually 1/16" wide or less. They generally occur near the center of a span and maintain a consistent width for the length of the crack.
A Word Of Warning: Be careful not to assume that a crack in your foundation is merely a shrinkage crack! If you see cracks in your foundation walls, monitor them regularly. If the cracks widen enough that you can fit a dime in them, or one end of the crack grows wider than the other, you should call us right away.
2. Foundation settlement
When the soils underneath your foundation fail to support the weight of your home, the foundation will begin to settle unevenly, and cracks will appear. As vertical cracks form and the wall or corner of the house begins to rotate, you will typically see cracks that are wider at the top or bottom.
Foundation cracks that are caused by settlement are very serious, and they will only get worse over time as the home continues to move. If you are concerned that your foundation may be cracking due to settlement issues, it's best to address the problem as soon as possible.
3. Expansive soils
If you have clay soils around your home, they can expand and contract significantly as they become wet. Wet clay soils can expand enough to put literally thousands of pounds of pressure on a foundation wall. This can force the walls inwards, sometimes causing them to buckle and crack. Look also for walls pushing in at the bottom or tilting in at the top.
If left unrepaired, this kind of damage can worsen until the wall fails completely or is beyond repair. By addressing the problem of failing walls quickly, repairs can be completed in as little as a day.
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