Homeowners should never ignore a crack in a foundation floor or basement walls! When left untouched, cracks tend to spread and deepen. In turn, they absorb more moisture that speeds up that damage. Additionally, that weak foundation can soon let a house sink, resulting in even more cracks and costly issues.
However, knowing what causes cracks in a foundation floor can help avoid those issues in the first place. Also, note that most foundation protection projects are far cheaper than repairs! With this in mind, note what often causes foundation cracks and how to avoid them.
The main causes of cracks are too much moisture, too much pressure, shifting soil, and improper installation techniques.
Moisture is the most common reason for a crack in a foundation floor and basement walls. Too much moisture in the surrounding soil makes it heavy. In turn, it puts pressure on that foundation concrete. That pressure risks cracks and other damage.
Also, moisture softens concrete, risking cracks, chips, and spalling. This includes moisture inside and outside a structure! Concrete absorbs dampness in a basement and moisture in outside soil. That moisture breaks up binders in concrete, risking cracks.
Additionally, note that concrete can crack under too much pressure, just like any other material! Residential foundations only support so much weight above them. Consequently, adding another story, stone floors, or other excess weight risks concrete cracks.
Moreover, soil outside a structure helps support that concrete. Overly dry or sandy soil, shifting soil, and other such conditions mean insufficient support. Without that needed support, concrete can also shift and then crack.
Homeowners should also remember that concrete is not indestructible! Fires, floods, earthquakes, vandalism, and other extreme issues can risk cracks and similar damage. Improper installation and poor-quality concrete mixtures might also crack or chip prematurely.
Be sure to contact an expert for foundation crack repair if you're not sure if a crack is a foundation problem!
Now that you know a bit more about cracks in a foundation, you can more readily avoid this damage! For instance, waterproof coatings inside and out can help stop concrete from absorbing moisture. Also, you might install a dehumidifier or sump pump in a basement for added protection.
Additionally, a damp basement might signal needed ventilation throughout the home. Ensure roof vents are clear of obstructions and upgrade the bathroom and kitchen fans as needed. New insulation can also keep out humidity during the summer months.
Homeowners should avoid putting added weight on a home without consulting with a structural engineer. He or she can note if the concrete might support that weight readily. If not, they might recommend underpinning or other ways of improving that concrete’s strength.
Above all, ensure you address cracks quickly rather than ignoring them! Even small cracks absorb more moisture, as said, speeding up damage. Cracks also weaken concrete so that it’s more likely to buckle under a home’s weight. The sooner you patch those cracks, the less risk of growing damage.
Concrete cracks are not unusual and not all of them indicate structural damage. For instance, hairline cracks might develop as the concrete expands and shrinks, or cures over time. In turn, you might only need to patch those cracks quickly without worrying about structural repairs.
On the other hand, zigzag cracks, deep cracks, or cracks that keep growing need immediate attention! These often indicate a sinking structure. Call a foundation repair contractor if you notice these around your property. He or she can inspect the foundation and note the best repair method.
Homes with a cracked foundation aren’t necessarily dangerous. As such, there’s no real reason that you shouldn’t buy a home with a cracked foundation. However, a prospective homebuyer should understand the risks of foundation cracks, including growing damage. Also, those cracks let in moisture that risk structural framing rot, water stains, mold, and other issues.
Consequently, a prospective buyer should exercise caution when considering a home with foundation damage. Ensure you’ve had the foundation inspected by a professional and understand your repair costs. Additionally, don’t overlook secondary damage needing repairs, including wall cracks, mold growth, and the like.
Lastly, a prospective buyer should pinpoint the cause of that foundation damage! If you don’t address poor soil drainage or trapped humidity in the home, cracks will soon reappear. A buyer should also consider needed preventative maintenance, including waterproofing, soil grading, and other such services.
Lansing Foundation Repair Experts is happy to help explain what causes a crack in a foundation floor in Michigan homes. If you’re concerned about your own property, call our Lansing foundation repair contractors. We can perform a FREE foundation inspection and prepare a repair price quote. Additionally, we stand behind all our work with a full guarantee. If you’re ready to get your property started, contact our crew today.