What the Cracks in Your Foundation and Walls Mean

clock October 22, 2013 11:23 by author
Homes with or without basements can develop wall cracks due to foundation issues. Contact a professional so they can determine if you need foundation repairs.

Common Foundation Cracks

Whether or not you have a basement, your home could be in danger of developing foundation or wall cracks. If your home is sinking or settling, you may find that cracks are beginning to form in the foundation. A sinking or settling foundation could cause cracks to form in the basement walls. Sometimes, voids form beneath your foundation, removing support from that part of the foundation and putting pressure on it. This causes the foundation to shift and crack. These voids often occur if the soil beneath the foundation was not properly compacted during construction of your home. They can also be formed by erosion or soil shrinkage in drought conditions. Soil expansion due to excess water can also cause cracks, as the more water the soil absorbs, the more the hydrostatic pressure builds up and puts stress on the foundation.

Foundation Crack Solutions, Wall Cracks, Foundation CracksNormally, cracks in your slab foundations indicate a settling or sinking foundation. If this is the case, the best solution is to use foundation underpinning methods to raise the foundation back to it's original position. The most common types of underpinning are done with steel push piers or helical piers. Both types of piers work in much the same way; they are driven into stable soil deep in the ground and the weight of the structure is transferred onto them. The main difference between these two types of piers is that while steel push piers are merely driven into the ground, helical piers are screwed in to provide a bit of extra stability. Other methods to fix slab cracks could be to fill the voids beneath the foundation by pressure grouting. This will stabilize your foundation and prevent more cracks from forming. If these methods do not completely close the cracks in your foundation, they can be filled or sealed with an epoxy or polyurethane grout.

Basement Wall Crack Repair Options

Basement wall cracks can also be a symptom of foundation failure. There are many different types of wall cracks, and different types indicate different foundation problems, usually bowing walls or settling foundations. Bowing walls are usually caused either by a settling foundation (especially if they are bowing outward), or by excess pressure from the soil around them. They can be fixed with the use of plate anchors or helical tiebacks, which provide lateral counter-pressure for bowing wall. If you find a wall crack in your basement walls, identify what type it is and contact a foundation repair contractor immediately to discuss repair options. The following list describes a variety of wall cracks and what they might mean.

  • Vertical - Settlement or Heaving
  • Horizontal - Bowing
  • Angled - Settlement
  • Angled and Horizontal - Bowing
  • Horizontal and Vertical - Bowing or Settlement
  • Converging in Center - Bowing or Settlement
  • Stair Step(usually in block or brick walls) - Settlement or Heaving
  • Wider at the Top - Side Settlement
  • Wider at the Bottom - Center Settlement

Cracks in your foundation or basement walls are an indication of serious foundation issues and should not be ignored. If you find a crack in your foundation, it could mean that your foundation is settling and needs to be repaired as soon as possible. Cracks in your basement walls most likely mean that you are suffering from either a sinking foundation or bowing walls. My Foundation Repairs can help connect you to a professional foundation repair contractor in your area.

 



How to protect your home's foundation from melting snow

clock March 5, 2013 18:59 by author
Have a flooded basement due to wall cracks? Call a foundation expert to protect your foundation from melting snow.

Protect Your Home's Foundation From Melting Snow

 

The following has been reposted from http://www.kshb.com/dpp/weather/weather_news/snow-melt-could-cause-foundations-big-problems

 

 

OLATHE, Kan. - You may think your winter blues will go away after the sun melts off all the snow, but homeowners may find their problems are about to get bigger.

Foundation repair, ECP

Foundation repair companies said Tuesday they are bracing for an influx of emergency phone calls next week after the sun has melted all the snow on the ground.

They said the water runoff can seep through all of those cracks nature caused last summer during the drought. That water may find cracks in basement walls and leave many basements flooded. As the snow melts and the water finds these cracks in your foundation, the temperature may suddenly fall again causing the water in those cracks to freeze. This will cause the cracks in your foundation to grow even bigger. With the ground still frozen, the snow melts and water forms around the foundation.  Fixing your foundation problem as soon as you see it can help prevent permanant damage to your home. 

When moisture in the soil freezes after a snow melt then freeze, caused enormous pressure against your foundation walls. This causes existing cracks to become even larger. Foundation cracks caused by soil pressure are generally horizontal cracks or stair-step cracks. These cracks often get worse over time and require a professional to repair the foundation. These cracks will weaken the structural integrity of your home. 

Karri Johnson has already learned the hard way. The Olathe resident faces a $32,000 foundation repair bill. "Do not put it off. It will not repair itself," she said. "It will get worse. It won't go away."

 

Keep Foundation Problems at Bay

Repair companies suggest homeowners be proactive.

Here are some tips to keep foundation problems at bay:

  • Make sure gutters are clear of debris so water can drain through a downspout
  • Make sure downspouts drain at least 10 feet away from the house
  • Make sure sump pump drains at least 10 feet away from the house
  • Get a professional to install underground pipes to drain water away from the house
  • Have a professional fill basement cracks
  • Move trees at least 15 feet away from the house


For more information, go to  www.myfoundationrepairs.com



Read more: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/weather/weather_news/snow-melt-could-cause-foundations-big-problems#ixzz2MjGq3OFB



Foundation Repairs Caused by Summer Heat

clock June 14, 2011 17:26 by author blogadmin
Fluctuating moisture levels and soil conditions cause cracks in your foundation. Hire a professional to assess your damages to make foundation repairs.

 

Foundation repairs to your home and summer heat go hand in hand.

Spring is over, the outside temperatures start to rise and the rains slow down our focus needs to be on our foundations. Foundations are very susceptible to fluctuations in moisture level of soils. Spring brings moderate temperatures and steady rains. Summer brings high temperatures and dry weather. These fluctuations cause movement in your homes foundation which can result in cracks in basement walls and sticky doors and windows.

In the spring the weather is mild and wet, which causes the soil to become saturated and swollen. The wet soils expand and become very heavy around and under your homes foundation. Often you will notice new cracks in basement floors, drywall and foundations. These rigid surfaces show these signs of stress because of the expansive soils surrounding them and their movement.

As summer starts, the soil begins to dry out, crack and shrink. You will notice cracks to develop in your lawn and the soil pulling away from the foundation. As this continues the process goes deeper and deeper in your yard causing your foundation to settle. As the homes foundation starts to settle new cracks will develop vertically in the basement walls. These vertical cracks are due to differential settle or uneven settlement caused by different soil moisture levels around your home. The location of trees, flower gardens and shade will help determine the drying time and extent.

To prevent further foundation damage caused by soil movement foundation repairs become necessary. Whether it is helical tiebacks during the spring rains or steel push piers in the heat of the summer, slowing or stopping the movement is the key to preventing major structural damages. Foundation repair methods are successful when they move the bearing surface of the foundation to soils that are not affected by moisture changes in the upper levels of soils. By bearing on deep soils the foundation remains stable and less affected by active soils.

As the temperatures increase in your area keep an eye on soil moisture levels and any new cracks in your home. These are signs of future movements and potential foundation problems. While some will tell you that you can reverse the effects of drying soils with soaker hoses, the amount of water necessary to do this is usually unpractical. A simple one inch rain that falls on a 1,500 square foot roof equals nearly 1,000 gallons of water. When you add in the water that falls on your lawn it is simple to see replacing this quantity of water can become very difficult and expensive. 



Foundation Repairs and Summer Heat

clock May 30, 2010 11:00 by author blogadmin
The summer heat and dry weather causes foundation cracks, basement wall cracks and the need for foundation repairs.

 

As the outside temperatures start to rise and the rains slow down our focus needs to be on our foundations. Foundations are very susceptible to fluctuations in moisture level of soils. Spring brings moderate temperatures and steady rains. Summer brings high temperatures and fewer rains. These fluctuations cause movement in your homes foundation which can result in cracks in walls and sticky doors and windows.

During the spring the weather is mild and moist, which causes the soil to become saturated and swollen. These wet soils expand and become very dense around and under your foundation. Often you will notice new cracks in basement floors, drywall and foundations. These rigid surfaces show these signs of stress because of the expanding soils surrounding them.

As summer starts soils begin to dry out and shrink. Generally you will notice cracks to develop in your yard and the soil pulling away from the foundation. Over time this process happens deeper and deeper in your yard causing your foundation to settle. As the foundation starts to settle, new cracks will develop vertically in the foundation. These vertical cracks are due to differential settle or uneven settlement caused by different soil moisture levels around your home. The location of trees, flower gardens and shade will help determine the drying time and extent.

To prevent further damage caused by soil movement foundation repairs become necessary. Whether it is helical tiebacks during the spring rains or steel push piers in the heat of the summer, slowing or stopping the movement is the key to preventing major structural damages. Foundation repair methods are successful when they move the bearing surface of the foundation to soils that are not affected by moisture changes in the upper levels of soils. By bearing on deep soils the foundation remains stable and less affected by active soils.

As the temperatures increase in your area keep an eye on soil moisture levels and any new cracks in your home. These are signs of future movements and potential foundation problems. While some will tell you that you can reverse the effects of drying soils with soaker hoses, the amount of water necessary to do this is usually unpractical. A simple one inch rain that falls on a 1,500 square foot roof equals nearly 1,000 gallons of water. When you add in the water that falls on your lawn it is simple to see replacing this quantity of water becomes very difficult and expensive.



5 Home Repairs You Should Not Ignore

clock October 23, 2009 13:48 by author blogadmin
Ignoring these home repairs could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and compromise your family's health.

 

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2009

This article is the archived version of a report that appeared in June 2009 Consumer Reports magazine  

 5 home repairs you shouldn't ignore

Use our expert advice to stop trouble in its tracks Too little, too late

 

You might be tempted to put off fixing your home until the economy rebounds. Rebuild the patio? Sure, right after your 401(k) rallies. But some problems, if left unchecked, can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs (rebuilding a foundation wall, for instance) and might even compromise your family's health, such as mold contamination.

The trouble signs are easy to spot, provided you know what to look for. What's more, contractors aren't as busy now, so they're likely to be more flexible on price. Here are the five biggest red flags of home maintenance, with our advice on how to deal with them.

1. Runaway rainwater "If there are 10 things that can go wrong with a house, 15 of them have to do with water," says Bill Loden, a Madison, Ala., home inspector. Gutters, downspouts, and leader pipes collect rainwater and channel it away from the house. In very wet regions, leaders should extend at least 5 feet from the house. Check the entire gutter system seasonally for proper pitch and for clogs, corrosion, broken fasteners, and separation between connections and where gutters meet the fascia board. When inspecting gutters, extend straight ladders 3 feet beyond the roof at a 75-degree angle to the ground. The soil around the foundation should slope away from the house at least 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more. If you have planting beds along the foundation, make sure the grading of the bed, its edging, or the edge of the lawn isn't keeping water from draining away from the house.

2. Roof and siding Roofs are the most vulnerable to water infiltration, given their exposure to the elements and the laws of gravity. On a sunny day, use binoculars to spot cracked, curled, or missing shingles, which are signs that the roof is near its end of life. Also check flashing around chimneys, skylights, and roof valleys, and the rubber boots around vents for cracks. Siding is also susceptible to leaks, especially where it meets windows and doors. A $5 tube of caulk might save you thousands of dollars in structural repairs. If you live in a cold climate, check the siding under the roof eaves for water stains, which could be a sign of ice damming. Adding attic insulation and sealing gaps around pipes, recessed lighting, and ducts into the attic might help prevent future damming and lower your heating and cooling bills.

3. Pest infestations Termites and carpenter ants gravitate to moist soil and rotting wood, another reason to make sure your gutters are in good shape and soil around your foundation is graded properly. Also keep mulch, firewood, and dense shrubbery away from your foundation. Once termites infiltrate a home, they can bore through the structure in a few short years. Formosan termites, which are prevalent throughout the South, have been known to rip through studs and floorboards in a matter of months. To detect termites, probe the sill plate (also called a mudsill) that sits on top of the foundation with a screwdriver to check for rotted wood. To check for carpenter ants, look for piles of sawdust along baseboards. Regular termites also shed wings along windowsills, walls, and other entry points. Rodents gravitate toward disorder and debris, such as leaf piles around the foundation. Plug holes in the siding and the foundation walls with expandable foam. Don't forget to look up for signs of birds, bees, or squirrels in soffits and attic vents.

4. Mold and mildew Even houses in arid climates aren't immune. Hot outdoor temperatures can drive even small amounts of water trapped in the structure to condense on colder interior surfaces, leading to mold. Musty odors, dank air, and family members with chronic runny noses are warning signs. Check under carpets and around windows for visible mold or mildew. Also remove cover plates for cable-TV, phone, and Internet connections, and use a flashlight to peer behind walls and wallpaper for mold. Avoid mold tests sold at home centers and online. Each of the kits we tested had significant flaws that were serious enough to earn them a Not Recommended Rating in our 2006 tests. If indoor mold covers less than 10 square feet, treat it yourself with a homemade solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Be sure to don an N-95 disposable respirator, goggles, and heavy-duty gloves. Professional remediation is required for larger outbreaks, if the ventilation system is contaminated, or if an allergy sufferer lives in the home. 

5. Foundation cracks Some cracks are harmless, but others can mean trouble. James Katen, a home inspector from Gaston, Ore., suggests walking around the house with a No. 2 pencil in hand. Hairline cracks are probably the result of concrete curing or minor settling, he says, and can be filled with an epoxy-injection system. "But if the pencil can go into the crack up to the yellow paint on the pencil, that's a pretty wide crack and might be a sign of a major problem," Katen says. A ruler is another handy tool: Cracks wider than 3/16 inch, even vertical ones, can be a problem. Mark smaller cracks with tape and monitor their progress over the coming months. Also be on the lookout for horizontal cracks or bulging or buckling. Along with expanding cracks, those conditions require the attention of a structural engineer. The longer you wait to correct a problem, the more costly it will probably be.

More red flags

 ·                            Cracks at upper corners of windows and doors (uneven foundation settling)

·                            Mushrooms or fungus growing out of siding (moisture in the walls)

·                            Soft boards or loose rails on outdoor decks (decaying deck structure)

 



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