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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.



Common Indoor/Outdoor Foundation Problems | My Foundation Repairs

clock January 13, 2015 10:13 by author
Look for indoor and outdoor foundation problems to avoid costly repairs. My Foundation Repairs can help locate a qualified contractor to assess your damages.

Indoor and Outdoor Foundation Problems to Watch For

The causes of foundation problems are rarely a result of the structure of the design. Most damage is due to foundation soil that supports the structure. If you are a property owner, knowing the common warning signs can prevent most foundation issues and save you money in the long run. The sooner the problems are fixed, the better. 

There are many factors that lead to foundation problems, but the most common are due to weak bearing soils, poor compaction, inconsistent moisture content, maturing trees/vegetation or soil consolidation. If you have any of these issues on your property, look for signs of foundation issues.

Common Warning Signs of Foundation Problems

indoor and outdoor foundation problemsIndoor Warning Signs: Unfortunately, homes will settle over time and a little settlement is not a reason for concern. But it is good idea to be alert for more dramatic changes such as:

  • Sticking doors
  • Wall cracks over doorways, windows or between the walls and ceilings
  • Concrete floor cracks
  • Hard to open and close windows

Outdoor Warning Signs: Inspect the outside of your home or building for signs of foundation issues. Is your foundation straight? Measure the length of the foundation wall from each corner. Also, check for leaning or bowing walls by using a level. Bulging block or poured concrete walls will shift or move if there is pressure against the foundation walls. This is caused by soil expansion and contracting.

Crumbling or Breaking Concrete: If you have a poured perimeter foundation, check the stability of the foundation by poking it with a screwdriver. If it chips or flakes, the concrete could be deteriorating.

Rotten Wood Posts: Moisture in your basement or crawlspace can damage posts and concrete supports. Check to see if the posts are standing straight, and rested firmly beneath the beams. 

Moisture in the Crawlspace: Water puddles or standing water in the crawlspace is a sign you have poor drainage. These conditions can lead to moisture, mold growth and foundation settlement over time. Make sure gutters aren't clogged, and the soil slopes away from the home.

Foundation Cracks: Over time, cracks will form in concrete and block foundations. Hairline cracks and cracks at an L-shaped section are not a major concern. But some cracks are more serious than others, which could mean you have foundation issues. Look for the following cracks:

  • Horizontal crack - These are serious cracks that are caused by pressure against the foundation due to soil expansion and soil shrinkage.
  • Stair-step cracks - Cracks that are wider than 1/4 inch accompanied by a bulging wall are a major concern. Clogged gutters and poor drainage are factors that create pressure against foundation walls.

Contacting a Foundation Repair Specialist

If you have any of these warning signs, there are several repair methods used:

  • Steel Piers
  • Helical Piers
  • Helical Tieback Anchors
  • Plate Anchors
  • Hydraulic Slab Lift Pier

Don't let foundation problems get worse. My Foundation Repairs will contact an experienced foundation repair expert and give you a free inspection for your foundation problems. They will be able to determine if your settlement is normal or caused by soil-related issues. They'll help get your foundation back to normal so you can have peace of mind.



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.



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