Toronto, Aug 30, 2020 (Issuewire.com) - Diagnosing Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in your foundation come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It is not unusual for cracks to form within the first year of new construction, often near windows, corners of the walls or floors or in the longer sections of your foundation. "Most are due to foundation settling and are usually not a cause for concern" says Steven Gamsby of Provincial Site Services a concrete remediation and waterproofing firm based in Toronto Ontario Canada.
Is This Foundation Crack Normal or Dangerous?
If you are unsure about your foundation cracks, monitor them to see if they are increasing in size. Simply use a pencil to mark off and date the ends of each crack. Within a period of time, you will be able to tell if the crack is due to natural settling or if it indicates a more serious problem. Tracking them will also help foundation repair experts determine how they were formed and the best way to fix them. Gamsby notes "when you see significant change, call a professional in your area to ensure a larger problem is not the cause of the cracking."
Vertical and Diagonal Foundation Cracks
Usually, a diagonal or vertical crack in the foundation wall is the result of settling in the concrete foundation and is quite common in new construction. Because concrete shrinks while it cures, these cracks are called shrinkage cracks. They usually run vertically or diagonally, are often located in the middle section of walls and are less than 1/8 in wide.
Frequently you will find vertical cracks in block foundations. If the crack is located closer to a corner and is wider than 1/8 in, it is probably not due to shrinkage but indicates a more serious foundation issue. If your vertical foundation crack is wider than 1/8 of an inch, call a professional to get it inspected as it may be a cause for concern not visible to the eye.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
Horizontal cracks often indicate a more serious problem. They are caused by hydrostatic (water) pressure from the outside of the walls and can lead to a failure in the foundation. Most foundations are designed to handle the pressure of water and soil. Additional pressure due to heavy rains or flooding can create serious horizontal cracks that need to be repaired as soon as possible. Steven Gamsby noted that "areas with high water tables are often prone to ongoing issues."
When is a Foundation Beyond Repair?
Fortunately, most foundation issues can be repaired with underpinning solutions and hydraulic lifting. A foundation may be considered beyond repair if the investment that it takes to restore it does not add enough value to the home. Although very uncommon, this sometimes occurs when a foundation has completely collapsed and the damage to the home is irreversible.
Listed below are some of the most serious signs of foundation problems that we have seen that should be addressed immediately before your foundation collapses and fails:
- Cracks that change direction
- Bulging walls due to water pressure
- Sloping and weak floors above the foundation
- Vertical foundation cracks wider at the top than the bottom
- Fitting a dime through a foundation crack
If you have any of these signs around your property, contact a professional contractor as soon as possible. If walls are bulging after heavy rains or flooding, your foundation may be in danger of an imminent collapse. Steven Gamsby added "ensure that the firm or individual that is inspecting your property is qualified to do so and carries the appropriate insurance."
Repairing Vertical or Diagonal Cracks
Vertical and diagonal cracks in your home's foundation are most often a sign of foundation settlement and not necessarily a sign of structural damage. If the crack seems even when you run your finger across it, it probably isn't a sign of a major problem.
Sometimes unknowing homeowners and lazy contractors will try to repair the crack by chiseling out an inverted V-groove into the crack and then fill it with hydraulic cement. While the new cement will fill the hole, it doesn't bond with the original cement. Usually, within a couple of years, the concrete wall will fluctuate with changes in temperature and moisture and cause the plug to leak again.
Steven Gamsby is the President and Operating Manager of Provincial Site Services www.provincialsiteservices.com a concrete repair and waterproofing firm based in Toronto Ontario Canada, serving Southern Ontario.
Provincial Site Services
105 Consumers Drive
Source :Provincial Site Services
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