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Foundation Wall Cracks - What Does It Mean and What Can You Do?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 by Kellie Santiago


You’ve noticed cracks in your foundation wall. Now what? What should you be looking for? When is it a problem? And what should you do next?

Cracks in your foundation can have a variety of causes and can range in severity from a minor cosmetic issue to a major structural problem.

 Here’s what you should be looking for:

  • Horizontal or vertical wall cracks
  • “Stair-step” or diagonal cracking (common in brick and concrete block walls)
  • Bulging or buckling foundation walls
  • Pushing in at the bottom of the wall
  • Sliding in at the top of the wall

 These types of cracks in your foundation walls form for three main reasons:

 

Curing Concrete

As concrete cures, it’s common to see small cracks forming in the foundation walls. These cracks are very small “hairline” cracks, usually less than 1/16’’ wide.  These cracks are not a sign of a major foundation problem but be careful not to assume that a crack in your foundation is simply this type of crack.  If you see a crack in your foundation wall, check it regularly and if the crack widens enough that you can fit a dime in it, then you should consult a foundation repair specialist right away.

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Foundation Settlement

When the soil underneath your home cannot support the weight of your house, your foundation will begin to settle unevenly forming vertical cracks that are wider at one end.  Cracks that are caused by settlement are very serious and will only get worse with time as your home continues to shift. If you notice vertical cracks in your foundation and you are concerned about settlement, you should consult a professional right away.

 

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Expansive Soils

If you have clay soils around your home, they can expand and contract significantly when they are wet. Wet clay soil has the ability to put thousand of pounds of pressure on your foundation wall. The pressure forces the walls inward, sometimes causing them to buckle and crack.  If left unrepaired, the damage could increase until the wall fails or is completely beyond repair. When the problems are addressed as soon as you notice it, it can often be completely fixed in as little as a day.

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The good news is that if your cracks are from foundation settlement or expansive soils, Connecticut Basement Systems has effective solutions that can repair your home.  Our Foundation Pier Systems are a permanent solution for homes that are settling. They are an excellent way to stabilize and lift a foundation that is resting on soils that cannot support the weight of the home. All of our piering systems lift your home back to its original position, often close cracks and improve the operation of doors and windows.

 

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No matter what kinds of problems you may be experiencing with your foundation walls, our in-house team of foundation experts are here to help. We offer free, personal consultations to help you decide which repair solution is right for you. Each consultation includes an on-site inspection and free written estimate. 

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