Typically caused by changes in the soil, they cause house settling and can damage your home’s foundation. Whether you have cracked concrete blocks or a cracked concrete slab, it’s a good indication that there’s a foundation settlement that needs to be fixed by a foundation repair contractor.
Understanding Concrete Cracks in Virginia, Maryland, DC
Causes & Repair Solutions For Cracked, Sinking Concrete Floors
Do These Concrete Cracks Look Familiar?
What Causes Concrete Cracks?
Cracked concrete or a cracked concrete slab is caused by house settlement. Settling is a result of changes in the soil your home is built on and occurs when the ground is no longer able to support the weight of your house.
- Excess Water
- Dry Conditions
- Poor Construction
A lot of rain, inadequate drainage system, or poor grading could be creating problems for the soil your home’s foundation sits on. When wet, the soil expands and becomes soft– like a sponge – and pushes against your foundation, resulting in bowed walls, horizontal cracks, and vertical cracks.
The hot summer days can affect more than your garden, it also evaporates the water from the soil surrounding your foundation. The dry soil pulls away from your foundation, creating a gap, and shifting your home’s foundation. This can cause concrete cracks and vertical cracks in your basement or foundation walls.
The builder may have taken a short cut that has affected the soil your home is built on. After your home’s foundation is poured and dried, soil is dumped outside the foundation to help it stabilize. If the soil wasn’t compacted or the foundation was not completely dry when the soil was pour then concrete cracks can develop.
Concrete Foundations and Slab Settlement
If you’ve tried to repair cracked concrete yourself without being successful, there’s a good chance you’re dealing with a foundation settlement problem. It’s a very common homeowner problem. Note the following settlement signs:
- Cracks in Concrete Floor
- Sinking Floors and Wall Separation
- Interior Wall Cracks – Commonly in Corners
When a concrete floor settles, it can mean serious damage to your home. The causes of floor slab settlement are almost always due to the soils underneath being unable to support the weight of the concrete. Often times settlement accompanies additional foundation problems.
The category of concrete cracks is broader than you might think. You won’t always be able to determine what caused a concrete crack to form based on a first glance, either. Instead, you’ll want to take in the conditions surrounding the crack in your concrete to better understand why your foundation may have suffered as it did. As you are sussing out a concrete crack, keep a weathered eye out for:
- Mold growth
- Unusual degrees of dampness
- Rapidly dropping temperatures
- Water damage
Not all cracks are going to leak, but most leaks in your home stem from undiscovered cracks. As such, if you spot water damage in your home, you can often follow the flow back toward the spot that’s suffered the most damage. Alternatively, you can reach out to a professional in your area for a home inspection and a free quote on those services that can restore your home to its original condition.
Should You Invest in a DIY Concrete Crack Solution?
That said, what if you don’t want to reach out to a professional? Is it possible to fix concrete cracks on your own?
You can fill concrete cracks on your own, but it is extremely difficult to fix these cracks with a DIY solution. Concrete cracks tend to be the result of significant hydrostatic pressure outside of your home. These cracks can form vertically, horizontally, diagonally, or along caulk lines depending on how that pressure interacts with the materials supporting your home. If you don’t make a point to understand what that interaction might look like, you may end up doing more harm than good if you try to fix a crack without guidance from a professional.
Will a DIY Solution Save Me Money?
Many homeowners prefer to consider DIY solutions to their problems because they are under the impression that those solutions will save them money. When it comes to foundation repair, this is not the case. Not only do the materials and tools you need to repair this kind of damage cost a pretty penny, but the process of excavating your foundation, should the need arise, is not one you want to take on without help. Given the unique catalog of home repair solutions most contractors have ready access to, you’re more likely to find yourself saving money when working with a contractor.
Will a DIY Solution Protect My Home?
In the same vein, do not expect a DIY solution, be it intensive or as simple as caulking a crack, to protect your home from water damage in the long term. Caulking, in particular, does not tend to last long and can only buy you some time if you wish to pursue a more comprehensive solution.
In some cases, attempting to use a DIY solution to tend to a crack in your wall can cause that crack to widen or a leak to worsen. With that in mind, there’s no harm in reaching out to a professional who has the experience to know what repair methods will work best with the cracks that have appeared in your home.
When you’re looking for ways to restore your home’s value, there’s no shame in asking for help. A professional contractor can walk through your home with you and help you understand what went wrong, where your foundation damage stems from, and what solutions may best help you bring your home back up to snuff.
While you’ll have the opportunity to browse a vast catalog of potential home repair solutions, you can always consider underpinning when something with your foundation goes wrong. The term “underpinning” describes a broad category of foundation repair solutions. Your options can include slurry or concrete integration, should your foundation be sinking into gaps beneath your home, as well as piering, should you want to invest in a more heavy-duty foundation repair solution. Note that, again, both of these processes become much simpler when you have a team of professionals and their tools at their side to aid you.
Piering Your Foundation
The piering process, in particular, can help you prepare your home both to recover from its existing damage and to better combat any damaging conditions that might plague it in the future. There are several reliable options available to you including push piers, helical piers, and slab piers. Contractors can excavate your foundation and dig out the areas into which applicable piers can go. Afterward, you can rest assured knowing that you have the supports in place to bear the weight of your home, even as the land around you continues to change.
Note that you’ll have the option to invest in home waterproofing measures after the last of your foundation repair work is done. When you invest in these types of measures early on, you can get ahead of the damage that might otherwise cause long-term problems from the structural supports protecting your home.
Other Repair Solutions
Depending on the condition of your concrete cracks, their location, and the extent of damage, you also could take advantage of other repair solutions. If your walls are cracking and bowing, you can potentially restore them to their original positions with wall anchors or special wall braces, and you can reinforce minimally problematic walls with carbon fiber supports. If you’ve got a cracking and uneven slab floor, polyurethane injections also can benefit your home. Be sure to contact your local foundation repair professionals for a thorough evaluation and recommendation on the right solutions to fit your home’s needs.
And if your concrete cracks are nothing more than a cosmetic problem, we will tell you. Ask us questions and share your foundation repair concerns. We’re your foundation repair authority!
Concrete Crack Solutions
Since your concrete cracks can be caused by a waterproofing problem or a sinking foundation it is best to schedule a free inspection to find the source of your home’s problem. A few of the solutions we may recommend are JES Helical Piers, JES Push Piers, JES Slab Piers, Concrete Lifting, IntelliBrace, or JES Wall Anchors.
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