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Foundation Crack Repair Methods: How is it Completed?

Foundation Crack Repair Methods: How is it Completed?

In 2000 the estimated cost of foundation repair was over 12.5 billion dollars yearly...

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In 2000 the estimated cost of foundation repair was over 12.5 billion dollars yearly, which is quite a bit of money to spend on issues that could have been prevented with proper maintenance. The concrete Foundation Association (CFA) found that over 78% of people who called in needed crack repair in their foundation. When cracks aren’t taken care of promptly, it can lead to hundreds of dollars worth of damages.

Along with your roof, your foundation is one of the most critical parts of your home. The foundation is what supports your weight and keeps it stable. However, it’s important to know if the foundation is not solid structural issues can come up, causing serious problems with your home. This often increases your need for foundation crack repair.

The good news is that most cracks in the foundation aren’t severe enough to need professional repair. When it’s small and doesn’t threaten the structure of your home, you can likely repair it on your own. However, the best way to make sure the crack isn’t a sign of an issue is to have a professional come out and inspect it for you. There are a few different types of foundation cracks. Some are harmless, while others can indicate a problem. Below you’ll learn about a few different types so you can know if you should worry or not.

Hairline Crack

Typically, about a year after construction, hairline cracks may start appearing in your foundation about a year after construction. These are common in basement walls, usually near doors, windows, or corners. These cracks are called hairlines because they are thin about the width of a hair. The cracks are a normal part of the concrete shrinking or settling as it dries. As long as the cracks are thin, you don’t need to worry. If you don’t like the sight of them, you can paint over them.

Horizontal Crack

Horizontal cracks are the most serious. When you find this type of crack, it’s most often from soil pressure due to water freezing and thawing or hydrostatic pressure caused by too much moisture in the soil. Often you’ll notice buckled foundation walls, primarily if not constructed of reinforced concrete block, brick, or stone. The cracks are usually only visible inside the basement or crawl area.

Horizontal cracks are often serious and should be fixed by a professional. They will often use a carbon fiber repair method that helps stabilize and straighten foundation walls. Carbon fiber is a high-strength strand woven into the fabric that seldom breaks and doesn’t stretch. To install the carbon fiber, they will grind the wall where the strip goes, epoxy will be applied, and then the fiber strip is laid on the epoxy, then the steel angle is bolted to the top. The installation process is quick and can often be finished in one day, depending on the size of the wall.

Stair Step Crack

You’ll most often find this type of crack in block foundations. They happen along with the mortar along the joints and are usually signs of an issue with the foundation. You’ll typically find them on the outside wall, and they are in a stair-step pattern. Stair step cracks are often a sign of a foundation issue, and you’ll need a professional to inspect the foundation.

The type of repair needed for the stair-step foundation crack depends on the size of the gap. If they are minor, they can be repaired using injection techniques such as:

  • Epoxy injections are the most basic type of repair and are used to fix many wall cracks.
  • Polyurethanes are one of the best ways to seal a crack. This type of sealant is strong and can expand and shrink with the wall as it moves.
  • Urethane sealing is another way to repair stair-step cracks. Like polyurethane sealing, urethane shifts with the settling of the house.

Vertical Cracks

Vertical crackers aren’t as serious as horizontal cracks and don’t usually indicate problems with your foundation. They are typically due to soil settlement that creates pressure on the wall and leads to a crack forming in the foundation. You can repair them on your own as long as they are in the middle of a home’s wall and less than ⅛” wide. If they are larger or in a different location, you’ll want to call a professional for assistance.

Vertical cracks are typically fixed the same way stair-step cracks are. The three methods above are all done in similar ways.

  1. Clean the area that needs repairing
  2. Drill small holes into the crack
  3. Inject the epoxy, polyurethane, or urethane into the hole to seal it

Foundation Repair for Large Cracks

There are a few different foundation crack repair methods for large cracks that you cannot fill, such as slab jacking and piling. These methods use different ways to help keep the house stable when other forms won’t.

Slab Jacking

This method consists of drilling 2” holes in the concrete foundation and into the sinking area, then natural elements such as soil or cement fill the void keeping the slab in place.

Piling

This method uses concrete pilings, steel piers, or bell-bottom piers. Each provides long-term solutions and returns your home to its original level. Pressed concrete pilings are used for both interior and exterior repairs. They work well on most types of homes and need to be driven at least 12ft into the ground.

Poured concrete piers are often used for residential homes and don’t need to go as deep as the pressed concrete piers. They are driven around 10ft deep and take about 7 to 10 days to cure.

Belled concrete piers are installed like the two above. The most significant difference is that the bottom of the pier is shaped like a bell. Also, like poured concrete piers, they only need to be driven about 10ft in the ground.

Steel Piers foundation repair is considered to be a permanent solution. The piers are strong and can be driven up to 100ft deep, ensuring that your house will not move even in clay soil. This type of foundation crack repair is one of the most common.

Structural Vs. Non-structural Cracks

How do you know if the crack in your foundation is structural or non-structural? Non-structural cracks are caused by settling and aren’t a threat to your home. However, structural cracks are inside the foundation and not in the wall itself. They can be caused by things such as expanding soil, soil washed away by water or unstable ground. The best way to determine if the crack is structural is to call a professional to inspect your foundation. They can complete a thorough foundation inspection and determine if you need foundation crack repair.


 

 

 
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