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Structural / Non-Structural Foundation Cracks | My Foundation Repairs

clock January 14, 2015 05:16 by author
Have foundation cracks? My Foundation Repairs has experienced contractors that could help you determine if your cracks are structural or non-structural.

Structural or Non-Structural - Understand Foundation Cracks

structural or non-structural foundation cracksCracks are a popular topic in the waterproofing industry, and when property owners notice them they could be worrisome. Because they lead to water damage and jeopardize the stability of the foundation, hire a professional to assess your cracks to determine if they are structural or non-structural. However, not all cracks cause structural damage. Some cracks are just a natural sign of aging, but they should never be ignored. Since water follows the path of the least resistance, water can flow through these cracks creating a perfect habitat for mold, mildew and insects. Soil gases such as radon can also enter through cracks, polluting the air in your home.  

If you have concrete foundation cracks, they can  get worse over time. They can start off as non-structural, allowing water to enter through the crack. If left alone, the water eventually deteriorates the inside of the concrete causing cracks to widen. These cracks can easily be fixed by hiring a foundation repair specialist to apply concrete crack injections into the affected concrete. If water seeps through the crack, polyurethane can seal the leak. For moving cracks, a more rigid epoxy material is used to seal the concrete and hold the crack in place. 

At My Foundation Repairs, we can help locate a qualified repair specialist to evaluate cracks in your home.

Know the Difference Between Structural and Non-Structural Cracks

Non-structural Cracks: Non-structural cracks are caused by changes in the moisture content and thermal movement. They can occur anywhere in the foundation wall where there are openings in the wall. Non-structural cracks can also be caused by the following conditions:

Some characteristics of non-structural cracks include:

  • 1 to 2mm wide hairline cracks
  • Cracks at the corners of doors and windows
  • Vertical to diagonal cracks
  • Cracks on plaster
  • Narrow, less than 1/8"

Structural Cracks: Structural cracks are due to poor construction sites, swollen soil, poor soil bearing or overloading. These cracks are usually accompanied by other signs of foundation issues such as sticking doors and windows, slanted doors, sloping floors and cracks in porches.  The common characteristics structural cracks include:

  • Continuous horizontal cracks along walls
  • Vertical cracks that are wider at the top or bottom
  • Stair-step cracks
  • Foundation wall cracks
  • Cracks in beams, foundation slabs
  • Angled cracks that form in the corners of walls with a horizontal crack in the center
  • Cracks wider than 1/8"
  • Cracks extending to the upper levels of the home

Structural Foundation Crack Solutions

To repair non-structural cracks, a foundation repair specialist can use a crack injection method with urethane. It is injected into the crack to permanently seal it and prevent further leaks.

Structural cracks can be repaired by installing carbon fiber strips to damaged walls. Resistance and helical piers can also be used to level sinking and settling foundations. Foundation repair products, made by Earth Contact Products (ECP), are used to ensure professional results.

Contact My Foundation Repairs today so we can locate a knowledgeable foundation repair expert to identify the cause of your cracks. They'll use the most effective repair solution to get your home back to normal again.



Understanding Block Foundation Cracks

clock December 27, 2013 05:26 by author
Cracks can affect all types of foundations, including block foundations. By hiring a contractor to install a waterproofing system, you can stop the formation of cracks.

It is common to have a block foundation in many areas around the country. Block foundations can, after time, experience cracking due to conditions around that foundation. Understanding what each type of crack is can lead to getting the correct fix for those crack types. Some block foundation cracks can be very serious, and mean a costly fix if not taken care of right away. As a home or business owner, it is wise to inspect your foundation frequently and be on the lookout for cracks in your block foundation. We can help you understand what each type is, and then you can be prepared to get it fixed. It is also important to note that block foundation repairs usually should not be handled as a do it yourself project. It is important to consult a foundation specialist or engineer to make sure that your block foundation is fixed properly. Use our foundation engineer network to find a foundation repair expert in your area to make sure these block foundation cracks are fixed right the first time. So let's learn more about the different crack types.

Block Foundation Crack Types

Horizontal

Horizontal cracks in your block foundation mean that there is pressure being put on those walls from the outside of the foundation. Soil around your foundation may have too much water in it. This puts pressure on your foundation walls. This is called hydrostatic pressure. This is a serious sign that your block foundation walls are under strain. Bowing and leaning is a common occurence when there is too much pressure on the walls around your foundation. It means you need to seek immediate attention from a professional foundation repair engineer. If left untreated, this type of crack in your block foundation can lead to collapse or foundation failure. Wall anchors or carbon fiber strips can be installed to add long lasting support to bowing and leaning walls. This is a minimally evassive solution. They can be installed inside or outside the walls depending on the setup of your foundation walls. Carbon strips are considered a green solution and you won't even really notice that they are there. Wall anchors actually pull the walls back into their orginal position. Contact a professional to see what solution is right for you.

Vertical

These types of block foundation cracks are a sure sign of foundation settlement or heaving. These cracks form slowly, but due to the pressure of your home or business on it, will grow wider over time and allow water in at some point when left untreated. The good news is that if you contact a foundation repair expert, there are foundation supports and underpinning products such as helical piers or push piers  that can add that additional support needed when settlement and sinking occur. Cracks can be filled with epoxy injections or grouting solutionsto seal the water out and prevent further water damage. It is always recommended to have a waterproofing solution in place as well in case you do get water in your basement. Waterproofing solutions such as sump pumps can help with damage that might occur from water that comes in through vertical cracks. When you are fixing your foundation, ask your foundation specialist if they offer waterproofing solutions. You might be able to prevent further problems with your foundation if you have a proper drainage system installed on the interior and exterior of your home. Many foundation specialist offer both foundation repair solutions and waterproofing solutions. When you have both installed, you can be virtually guarenteed to not have further problems with your foundation in the future.

Stair Steps

Sometimes, when settlement or sinking occurs with your foundation, it doesn't occur evenly. This causes stair step cracks in your block foundation. When the soil around your home settles it causes shifting and changing, and the exact same thing is happening to your foundation. This is a serious problem that should be looked at promptly. Underpinning and piering products add support in the right places when your foundation is shifting unevenly. Remember that grouting and epoxy injections can also be used to seal cracks to prevent water leakage in the future so you don't have any water stains or a wet basement.

Be Cautious with Foundation Repair

Be careful when it comes to foundation repair. When you search the internet or watch do it yourself shows on TV, sometimes it seems that foundation problems can be fixed simply by caulk or by mortar. We would not recommend this at My Foundation Repairs. The best thing you can do as a home or business owner is be vigilant when it comes to your foundation. Inspect it frequently. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris so they function correctly. Make sure water flows away from your foundation. Install waterproofing systems and drainage to control the level of water in your soil. But remember, there are many other factors to the health of your foundation than just too much water! If the soil is too dry, it will shrink away from your foundation causing a lack of support for block foundation walls. Soil that was poorly compacted around the foundation can cause settlement as well. The foundation of your home or business is the most important factor in safety and health of that structure. Protect it, and make sure it is repaired the right way by a foundation expert. 

Some Solutions for Block Foundation Repair

Each foundation is different so each solution will be different as well. Depending on the weight of the structure, helical piers or piles or slab piers as well as other underpinning products can be installed beneath the active layer of soil around your foundation, deep into the earth. This provides long lasting support for the structure. Some foundation repairs are cosmetic. A reputable foundation repair company will let you know this. In these cases, it may just be grout of epoxy injections that need to be performed to seal up the cracks in the foundation. Get in touch with the right foundation repair team through My Foundation Repairs, and get started on the road to a healthy foundation today. Remember that knowing what you are up against is half the battle. The other half is knowing who to turn to to resolve the problem. Get started today!



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.

 



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