Foundation Problems in Monroe, Indian Trail and Stallings
If your basement has water problems we’ve looked at possible external problems caused by landscaping or house rainwater runoff problems and possible problems with your Deep French Drain system, lets talk about possible foundation related problems and waterproofing fixes.
If your basement wall or crawlspace foundation wall is cracked, obviously it represents an opportunity for water to find its way into the basement or crawlspace. The type of crack will be indicative of the type of problem the wall structure is experiencing, hence the type of remedy that is needed to fix the crack and prevent water intrusion.
Horizontal Wall Cracks
Horizontal cracking in block construction is usually structurally related because the bond between the block is broken. However, this does not mean that the wall will collapse. The amount of movement and the cause of movement are important issues to consider. Frost, backfilling, or a significant unbalanced load may cause cracking. A frost line crack is not likely to have serious repercussions unless conditions, such as negative grading, are not corrected. Cracking due to poor backfilling practices, expansion and contraction of clay soils, or possibly heavy equipment close to the walls. This situation should be monitored for continued bowing of the wall indicating a more serious problem which over time could result in collapse.
Vertical Wall Cracks
Vertical cracks are usually not structually related. If the vertical crack in your crawl space foundation is out of the vertical plane of the wall, bowed inward, near the corners, wider at the top or bottom, or near the top or soil line of your crawl space foundation, don’t wait, call CCSS as we have a subcontractor that specializes in these types of problems. The crack could be a sign that your foundation is in serious trouble.
Diagonal Wall Cracks
Diagonal cracking is almost always structurally related. Diagonal cracking is defined as a crack that tears through the material, not a step crack that follows the mortar joints. If you are looking at a foundation wall with diagonal cracking, you should be concerned, however, determining the source is fairly easy. Being able to determine the cause or source of a crack can serve as a guide to the action or solution needed. If a design solution may be required, a structural engineer should be consulted.
CCSS works closely with local, licensed structural engineers for any project that may need engineering input or design work for problem resolution. We also have a subcontractor on our team that specializes in foundation repair that gets calls from the local structural engineers for complex foundation work. They also handle other foundation repair companies jobs that don’t have the equipment or expertise to handle the tough jobs.
Basement Floor Cracks
Cracks in your basement floor provide the opportunity for water and insects to enter into your basement. The ground underneath your foundation is full of moisture. When there are cracks in your home’s slab, water under your basement floor can be forced up into your basement. Cracks will develop in your basement slab for 3 basic reasons ( one of which we down here in the Davidson and Greensboro NC areas don’t have to worry about frost heave): slab settling, basement floor shrinkage and frost heave.
The primary parts of concrete are Portland cement, aggregate and water. After the concrete is poured, it cures to become solid. As the concrete dries, it will shrink. The degree of shrinkage is largely affected by temperature. If temperatures drop while your basement cures, that can cause cracks. Likewise, sweltering heat will rapidly dry your concrete – and curing too quickly also causes cracks. Even in perfect conditions, over time, your basement concrete will experience some degree of shrinkage.
Basement Floor Settling
Another common cause of cracks in basement floors is when the concrete slab begins to settle. Typically, settlement occurs when the soil beneath your foundation is too unstable to support the weight of your home and it shifts. Most homes are designed to allow for about an inch of soil movement – though some areas require the design to allow for up to four inches. In addition to soil movement, leaks in your basement and even tree roots can instigate settlement cracks.
During the colder seasons of the year (not around here for us Southerners) , another source of cracks in your basement floor is frost heave. When soil freezes and thaws, it causes an expansion then a shift underneath your foundation. Like settling, this movement causes your concrete to also shift and that leads to cracks. The most obvious sign of frost heave is cracks near support columns in the flooring.
Usually a good rule of thumb is if the crack is less than 1/8″ wide or less, just keep an eye on it … it’s not serious. It still does represent an opportunity for water and pests to enter the basement area. If larger, then give CCSS a call and let our basement and crawlspace experts look at the situation and determine if you have a more serious problem that needs your attention. Many times we just recommend monitoring the situation to see if the situation is stable or getting worse.