May 8, 2024

Don’t let foundation issues slip through the cracks

Foundations are crucial to the structural integrity of your house, and any possible damage should be addressed promptly to prevent further complications.

While cracks in foundations are not uncommon and can be caused by various factors such as soil settlement, water damage, or poor construction, it's essential to take action to mitigate potential risks.

Take a moment to assess the severity of the crack. Start by examining the size, location, and direction. Some may be superficial and pose minimal risk, while others could indicate significant structural issues.

For minor cracks that are less than a quarter-inch wide, you may be able to address them yourself using DIY repair kits available at hardware stores. These kits typically include epoxy or polyurethane foam that can be injected into the cracks to fill and seal them. It's essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Horizontal cracks, widening fissures, or those accompanied by other signs of structural damage such as slanted floors or stuck windows, require immediate professional attention.

Even if you assess no immediate problem, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on the cracks over time to observe any changes. Mark the ends of the cracks with a pencil and measure their width periodically. If you notice that the cracks are growing, it calls for professional intervention.

Professionals have the expertise and tools to assess the extent of the damage and recommend solutions. They may use techniques such as epoxy injections, carbon fiber reinforcement, or underpinning to stabilize the foundation and prevent further deterioration.

Common causes include soil settlement due to changes in moisture levels, poor drainage, tree roots encroaching on the foundation, or structural overload. Finding the root cause will help in preventing future damage.

Water is a common culprit behind foundation cracks. Homeowners may consider basement or foundation waterproofing if they have noticed water stains, efflorescence, a musty odor, water accumulation, or rust in their basements.

Basement and crawl space waterproofing are both complex projects that most homeowners will want to leave to a professional who has the tools, knowledge, and experience.

The main factors affecting costs are the size of the basement, interior versus exterior sealing, the sealant used, labor costs, and geographic location.

If you have a crawl space, remember to open vents in the summer, which allows outside air to circulate under the floor, which prevents moisture buildup and reduces the risk of mold and mildew. Close the vents during periods of wetter weather. For more serious crawl space issues, solutions may involve replacing the home's vapor barrier or the installation of a humidifier.

Before calling the pros, ensure that your home's drainage system is functioning correctly to divert water away from the foundation. Install gutter systems, downspout extensions, and French drains if necessary. Inspect your basement or crawl space for signs of moisture regularly.

Regular inspections and maintenance are key to preserving the integrity of your home's foundation. Schedule annual inspections with a qualified professional to catch any new potential issues early before they escalate into more significant problems. Ensure the long-term stability and safety of your home and save time, money, and headaches in the long run.