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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.



Cold Effects on Foundations | My Foundation Repairs

clock January 13, 2015 08:05 by author
Cold weather can have a huge affect on concrete foundations causing frost heave. If you notice foundation damage, hire foundation repair contractor to assess your property.

Ice Effects: How Cold Affects Concrete Foundations

cold weather affects concrete foundationsIf you live a cold climate with freezing temperatures, cold weather can have a major impact on concrete foundations. A cracked concrete foundation can result to leaks, wall cracks, and other structural damage. Uncovered foundations that are exposed to the air can freeze the ground several feet, causing frost heave under pavements, homes and buildings. The end results are destructive structures and serious foundation problems, causing you to spend money on major repairs. The best solution is to reduce frost penetration and keep water out of the soil. It is important to know what frost heaving is so you can prevent it.

Unfortunately, foundation damage can occur even before the temperature reaches the freezing point. If the temperature falls below 40 degrees for three consecutive days, the likelihood for foundation damage is high. 

So what is frost heaving and why is it destructive? Frost heaving is caused by freezing temperatures that can damage structures in two ways. 

  • Cold temperatures cause ice to freeze beneath the concrete foundation producing frost heave. Frost heaving is the movement of the soil due to the formation of ice lenses. Ice lenses are long crystals formed by layers of ice within the ground.  
  • The other way is the ground collapsing which is caused by thawing ice lenses. 

Both could affect structures causing vertical ground movement, shifting foundations, unlevel foundations, and cracks in the structure.  Foundation walls, floors, footings, retaining walls, slab pavements and other structures can be seriously affected.

So how does frost heave work? In order for frost heave to occur, there must be freezing temperatures, water and frost susceptible soil. All three conditions must be present. The process involves the following steps:

  1. When the ground freezes, it starts from the top. Since the frozen area of the ground is much harder than the unfrozen area, it locks the foundation in place. As the ground continues to freeze, the freezing process progresses downwards causing the soil below to lift the top layers. This pulls the foundation up, creating gaps and spaces beneath the foundation.
  2. The ground beneath the foundation moves, filling the gaps and spaces that have opened up. The unfrozen area under the foundation eventually freezes.
  3. As the weather warms up, the ground thaws causing the foundation to come back down. Because the space under the foundation is partially filled, it doesn't go back down to its original position.

How To Prevent Frost Heave

Frost heave is an act of nature, therefore it cannot be totally eradicated. However, it can be prevented. Frost heaving mainly occurs in low-lying areas in the ground where there are depressions or dips. In order to prevent frost heaving, reduce the amount of water in the soil to prevent freezing from occurring by combining the soil with compost. Also, apply mulch into the soil to help regulate the temperature in the ground. There are also other methods to preventing heaving such as:

  • Driving the footing deep into the soil
  • Create a 'bell' shaped fitting at the bottom of the footing to prevent the soil from moving the footing
  • Install reinforcing steel in the middle of the concrete slab

There are a variety of methods used by foundation contractors. Find the best preventative method for your property to eliminate the affects of frost heave. If you have visible damage caused by frost heaving in your concrete foundation, contact a foundation repair professional to assess your damages. They will determine the cause and provide the best repair method for the situation.



DIY Foundation Repair - Why NOT to Do It

clock December 27, 2013 09:26 by author
Avoid DIY foundation repair because it only puts a bandaid on the problem. Hire an expert to find a foundation repair solution in your budget range.

It's so tempting to consider do-it-yourself foundation repair. It is sort of like when you aren't feeling well, you Google search your symptoms on the internet, and find possible matches for your problem and consider not going to the doctor. The same is true for your foundation problems. You figure you can save money if you do it yourself, so you Google search the symptoms, and consider trying to fix your foundation problems yourself. The problem is, you are likely just going to put a bandaid on a much bigger problem. All over the internet and TV today you find websites and programs with DIY steps for fixing foundation problems. Most people do not have the tools that it would take to do what really needs to be done for foundation repairs. The problem is programs on TV and website make it seem simple, and bait their programs with the enticing "you could save a lot of money" tagline. 

Why DIY isn't the Way to Go

Your foundation is literally the most important part of your home. Most people are focusing on the cosmetic parts of their home. Paint, flooring, and the like. These very well might be good DIY projects for homeowners. When it comes to your foundation however, you really don't want to go the DIY route. Here is why:

1. It is hard to tell when foundation problems are leading to foundation failure. Sure, you might know the signs and symptoms of foundation problems. A homeowner should know the signs including bowing and leaning walls, floor cracks, wall cracks, drywall cracks, foundation cracks, leaning chimneys, water stains and leaks, and doors and windows that stick. But do you know when foundation failure is imminent? It takes a structural engineer to really know how serious the problems you have are. Special training is required to recognize these types of problems and the level of seriousness is envolved. So know the symptoms and make sure to act accordingly. 

2. You foundation can make or break the value of your home. Your foundation really is the most important part of your house. When an inspection is done on your home if you are trying to sell it, the inspector will absolutely know the difference between DIY foundation repairs and professional foundation repairs, and it WILL affect the value of your home. 

3. You likely don't have the right tools to perform foundation repairs. Many websites claim to offer DIY foundation repair "kits" but slapping some carbon fiber on a wall crack may not be all that you need. Some foundation repair jobs require piering products or underpinning products to lift or level a foundation. Some foundation repairs require grout or epoxy injections performed under high pressure. These require special equipment to complete. Some jobsites even require excavation to get to the root area of the problem. Again, you really won't know until you contact a foundation repair expert or structural engineer. 

4. You could cause yourself injury or cause additional damage to your home. It's okay to admit you might not know how to fix your foundation cracks, or bowing and leaning walls. It is a lot better to admit that than to hurt yourself because you don't know what you are doing. It is also very possible that you could make your foundation problems worse by not knowing what you are doing. There is no DIY foundation repair important enough to cause yourself injury or further home damage. If you aren't sure, or if you are following steps on a website or from a kit to do your foundation repairs, you probably don't have the skills required to do the job safely.

5. You might cost yourself more money in the end. Number 4 leads right into number 5. If you aren't sure what you are doing you could cost yourself a lot more money in the end. It is possible that you try to fix your own foundation and when it doesn't work, a foundation specialist comes in and has to undo what you tried to do to fix your own problem. This can result in higher costs for your foundation repairs. Your wallet is definitely something to consider when it comes to do it yourself foundation repairs. 

Skip DIY Foundation Repairs - Consult a Foundation Specialist

Of course it is understandable to try to save yourself some money when it comes to home repair. No one wants to spend more money than they need to when it comes to foundation repairs. The good news is, if you get in touch with a foundation repair specialist through My Foundation Repairs, we will get you in touch with a foundation repair specialist in your area that is licensed and reputable. They will work very hard to find a foundation repair solution in your budget range. They also won't try to find a problem where there isn't one. It may be that there is a less expensive solution available for the problems that you are having. You won't be lead down the wrong path. The other good thing about finding a foundation specialist through My Foundation Repairs is we only recommend foundation specialist that use the best foundation repair products available on the market today. Whether it be foundation piering or underpinning products, epoxy or grouting materials, or even waterproofing and drainage solutions, only the best products are utilized. This means long lasting foundation repair solutions for you and your home.



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