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AM Wall Anchor & Water Proofing Resource Article:

A Guide on Foundation Crack Repair

residential home foundation cracking

You want to protect your home, and foundation crack repair can do just that. Repairing a foundation crack can restore the finished beauty of your basement, prevent water damage from seepage, and restore the structural integrity of your basement floors and walls. Foundation cracks can tell you a lot about the health of your home and the land around it, but not every crack constitutes a threat to your home. As your foundation repair experts, we’ve seen a lot of foundation damage, some of which has been nothing beyond simple property settling, causing surface imperfections. On the other hand, the wrong kind of crack, left unchecked, can worsen to the point of putting your home’s basement and any personal property there in jeopardy.

Not All Cracks Are Created Equal

Before we get into foundation crack repair, it’s important to understand that not every crack needs to be repaired. In fact, some cracks are harmless and even a normal part of the curing and settling that occurs as concrete and the soil around your basement or crawlspace ages. In fact, being too quick to address potentially harmless cracks may risk covering symptoms that could develop underneath the repair that indicate potential structural issues. In these cases, well-meaning DIY  cosmetic work could directly contribute to your home’s risks.

  • Spiderweb Cracks – These very-fine wall and floor cracks are no wider or deeper than ⅛ of an inch usually represent no danger to your home as long as they don’t start growing. As concrete cures, it contracts. Most foundations, within a few years of being poured, will develop cracks similar to these, but once the pressures are released by the cracking, expansion of the cracks should stop.
  • Spalding – Spalding looks bad but has no effect on your foundation’s structural integrity. Often appearing as the surface of the concrete flaking or chipping away and leaving whole but rough-looking patches exposed, this happens when moisture is introduced to the concrete in the late stages of the drying process, either through rain, humidity, or another source. 
  • Horizontal Cracks Where the Floor Meets the Wall – The floors of basements are often completed after the walls are poured and in place. This can lead to imperfect bonding between the walls and floor, which frequently will lead to horizontal cracks of up to ½” where the floor has pulled away from the wall.

Cracks That Require Immediate Attention

Some cracks require immediate attention, whether it be a thorough analysis or, possibly,  foundation crack repair. These cracks point to instabilities or pressures on the foundation that threaten your property.

residential floor crack with a measuring tape showing the width of the crack

Cracks Wider or Deeper than ½” Anywhere – Wide or widening cracks can show worsening structural issues caused by stresses that continue to exert pressure on your structural elements. These problems are compounded by the introduction of voids into the concrete allowing for more erosion or expansion.

Leaks and Flooding – A leaking basement needs quick, professional attention. Repairing foundation cracks that are letting in water limits future erosion of the concrete and prevents water from entering the basement and damaging your foundation, personal property, and belongings.

basement floor water leak

Horizontal Cracks Not Near the Meeting of Walls and Floors – While vertical and diagonal cracks can indicate concrete settling, horizontal cracks away from the floor joints point to something entirely different: hydrostatic pressure. As the weight of the soil and water surrounding your foundation push against the walls, they can start to succumb to the pressures, cracking under pressure.

Walls That Bow, Lean, or Pull Away – If the pressures against the walls become too strong, the walls can begin to give way. This leaves your home atop an unstable foundation that can literally tear it apart as the ground shifts.

Repairing Foundation Cracks

Foundation crack repair is relatively straightforward, with patch material being introduced into the crack, where it can bond with the concrete to restore its integrity. If you’ve monitored small cracks for several months to ensure they aren’t growing and have grown tired of seeing them, you want to restore its finished surface after spalding, or you’re sealing a small horizontal crack near the floor/wall joints of your basement, you can safely repair them using commonly available materials. Cement epoxy, caulking, or patch material will easily fill and cover these imperfections following the manufacturer’s directions, but…

If You Have Any Doubts, Call a Professional

Don’t risk your home. Foundation repair professionals have the experience to examine foundation damage, understand the root cause, and predict the extent of damage that’s likely to occur. Beyond experience, professionals have access to a wider range of tools and materials than most homeowners keep in the garage. This lets them go to work fixing the damage the right way, so it’s a repair that lasts.

Shallow cracks can be filled with a concrete epoxy injected into the crack, where it repairs the inside of the material and not just the surface you can see. Expanding epoxy and concrete patch material are used for wider and deeper cracks as they grow to fill the full void. Bowed, leaning, and severely compromised walls can be secured with wall anchor installation for added stability, and the land surrounding your foundation can be improved with proper drainage and grading that relieves hydrostatic pressure and moves moisture away from the home. Finally, any other mitigation beyond foundation crack repair is managed by professionals who can ensure that your home faces fewer risks of foundation damage in the future.

The First Step to Securing Your Home

The problem with incorrectly repairing a foundation crack is that it can end up costing you more in the long run, but learning more from a professional is always free. When you schedule a no-cost, no-obligation inspection, one of our specialists will schedule a visit to take a look at your foundation, assess any damage, look for hazards, and offer you a plan that details your foundation crack repair options. Find out why so many of your friends and neighbors trust their property to us. Call for your free inspection from A.M. Wall Anchor & Waterproofing today.

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