Foundation Cracks & How To Handle Them
Discovering a foundation crack in your poured concrete wall, leaking or not can be little disturbing as this could mean costly repairs. Trying to determine whether a foundation crack should be “more cause for concern” than others is something most people can’t decipher on their own. Should you repair it on the inside or dig it up and fix it from the exterior side? On this page we discuss the repair of foundation cracks from the interior side of the foundation. Whether it be due to economical reasons, an obstruction on the exterior side foundation, repair by way of injection is the most common crack repair method used today.
After inspecting thousands of poured concrete foundations we have put together a quick overview of the most common types of foundation cracks to help you get a better understanding of what you may be faced with. In most cases dealing with a crack injection is similar to having a flat tire on your car. It’s not the worst thing in the world to deal with but if done improperly you will still be left with a leak. This is why you want to hire a credible, professional and ethical repair contractor who will provide you with a written warranty to complete the work for you.
Take a look below to see where your foundation crack fits into the spectrum of repairs. If you have a concrete block or stone/rubble foundation this section does not pertain to you. Visit our foundation repair page to learn more.
Of the foundation cracks you are likely to encounter, vertical cracks are the most common and least severe type of crack you will find. These types of cracks go straight up and down, or perhaps on a slight diagonal and are a common occurrence in many houses new and old.
We see them coming off the corners of window openings, beam pockets, or right in the middle of the wall. Typically these cracks are the result of your foundation settling, which typically occurs within the first few years of your house being built. This type of crack is usually the easiest and least expensive to have sealed. Generally, we inject these cracks with an expansion resin or two part epoxy material ensuring that it is sealed and does not leak!
Another common type of crack is a diagonal crack that runs along your foundation at a 30-75 degree angle. This type of crack may be a thin hairline crack, but will likely be wider at one end than the other. Diagonal foundation cracks are caused by differential settling of a foundation, which is where one side of a home’s foundation settles lower than the rest of the foundation. This type of settling can be the result of the expansion or contraction of the soil under a portion of the home or perhaps the house being built on a hill.
Diagonal cracks can be more costly to repair than a vertical crack especially if there are other cracks stemming from the first crack or if there is a slight shift in the two sections. It may be necessary to address this situation as in the picture to the right so the structural integrity of the foundation remains intact. If this is the case we would recommend the foundation be inspected by a structural engineer versed in the proper design and repairs of foundational issues.
However, the solution may be as simple as redirecting roof water or changing the grade in this area so water is directed away from the house to prevent future issues.
Foundation cracks that run sideways (horizontally) are the most serious type of crack to look out for, as they can signal serious damage to your home’s foundation and structural integrity. While these cracks are sometimes seen in homes with poured concrete foundations like that shown in the picture to the right, they are most common in homes with concrete block or brick foundations.
The cause of foundation damage like this can be linked to high soil pressure outside of your foundation caused by hydrostatic pressure that can make your basement walls bow inwards. If you discover this type of foundation damage it is important that you have it repaired as soon as possible before the structural integrity of your home becomes compromised. This type of cracking requires extensive repairs, which will likely include reinforcing your foundation in order to secure it and prevent further damage.
Knowing what types of cracking your foundation has can help you to determine the severity of the damage to your foundation. Ultimately, any cracks you discover in your foundation should be taken seriously, professionally inspected and repaired so the structural integrity of your home is not jeopardized.
There may be times where repairing a leaking crack from the exterior side of the foundation is preferred or just makes more sense. If this is the case simply visit our exterior basement waterproofing page to learn more.
To learn more about the proper handling of foundation cracks from a professional point of view simply contact us today!
Other Injectable Foundation Repairs
Pipe penetrations are where a hole is drilled or formed into the concrete foundation for the installation of certain pipes used for water supply, sewer drains, gas pipes, etc.
If we cannot access the exterior side of these penetrations we will inject the area with expansion resin which will fill the holes and voids that have been allowing water to infiltrate.
Rod Holes / Snap Ties
For those of you wondering what a rod hole or snap tie is let us explain. A rod hole is basically a hole left in the foundation where a steel rod came out of. The rods are used to hold together the steel plates that formed the shape of your foundation while concrete was poured. Once the concrete sets these rods were removed along with the steel plates and you are left with a hole in the foundation. The holes are then covered over on the inside and the outside with a variety of methods and materials which over time may begin leaking.
Snap ties are similar in nature except they are left in the foundation with the ends being snapped off so that the steel plates can be removed. Both rod holes and snap ties leak given the right conditions on the outside of the foundation. We can address these easily with a simple injection to seal the holes and voids left in the foundation. Contact us today to arrange an injection!