Does Your Foundation Have Cracks in the Wall or Floor?
If your home or business has cracks in the foundation, repair is essential. Find out what to look for, and how we can help fix the issue to prevent more serious (and even catastrophic) results.
All concrete structures will crack to some extent. Concrete will crack due to tensile stress induced by shrinkage or stresses occurring during construction, setting, or use. Contractors pour walls, or build block walls, and before the concrete and/or mortar can cure properly, or adequately, up goes the rest of your home, and there is the stress we are talking about.
In many large structures, expansion and contraction joints, or concealed saw-cuts, are placed in the concrete as it sets to make the inevitable cracks occur where they can be managed and out of sight. In residential construction this rarely occurs.
Shrinkage cracks occur when concrete members undergo restrained volumetric changes (shrinkage) as a result of either curing or drying, self-generated shrinkage or thermal effects. Once the tensile strength of the concrete is exceeded, a crack will develop.
The number and width of shrinkage cracks that develop are influenced by:
- the amount of shrinkage that occurs
- the amount of restraint present, and
- the amount and spacing of reinforcement provided.
Some cracks are immediately apparent, visible within the first two days of placement, while drying-shrinkage cracks develop over time.
Concrete members may be put into tension by applied loads. The size and length of cracks is dependent on the magnitude of the bending moment and the design of the reinforcing at the point under consideration.
The first determination should be whether the crack in question is structural or not. The answer is usually degree – usually a measurement of an inch. For example, if you take a plumb bob or 4′ level on a bowed wall, and the displacement from the crack to the floor is an inch; or if one side of the wall is in or out an inch, or if the crack is one inch or wider in width, than you probably have a structural issue, and upon that determination, we would request the services of a an independent unbiased engineer (3rd party).
Don’t take a chance. Call Apex today for a Consultation and Foundation Inspection by one of our Licensed Staff.
Regardless, wall cracks, cement cracks, block cracks, and mortar cracks can be sealed effectively with the right product, if applied properly. Combinations of structural I-Beams, angle irons, waterproof and hydraulic cements, epoxies, urethanes, polyurethanes, and other products have been used for decades to fix structural cracks from the inside. However, it takes experience, and knowing which product to apply to your specific foundation material and situation.
One concrete wall is not necessarily identical in chemical properties as another. One concrete crack is certainly different from another. Carbon Fiber and other fixes have been applied to bridges, parking structures for decades, and for the last few years, to the residential market with tremendous success. We have carbon fiber products, and carbon fiber reinforced with Kevlar. We have carbon fiber stitches and staples to stitch and staple a wall or floor together, if we determine this is the correct approach and application.
Epoxies, elastomeric sealants, polyurethanes, and a few other excellent products have proven to be effective, when applied properly. We have also seen failures when other companies haphazardly apply these materials. There are a variety of systems which may be applicable in certain situations, although proper and adequate drainage, in our opinion (and those of the industry standards) may possibly be a critical component of any solution.
Polyurethane foams, and waterproofing sealants that are elastomeric have some give as opposed to the rigidity but structural adhesion experienced with epoxy. Each is designed to seal walls to prevent moisture from passing through.
What To Know If You Have a Block Wall
If you have a block wall, sometimes your solutions are limited by what can be properly done. You either have to stop the water by waterproofing the wall, which truly means outside excavation, and depending on our analysis, maybe exterior drain tile to lower the hydrostatic pressure. We may only need to install an interior wall and floor management system, allowing the water to flow; this can sometimes be done by installing modern microbial vapor seal wall systems and directing it to a sub-floor drain tile system, and maybe using a dehumidifier or other types of systems which extract the moisture from the air, which we always recommend for basements.
In the end, it is price; what you can afford and which solutions are appropriate and feasible. The solutions are many, some good, some great, some horrible, depending on the company (in our opinion). Also, the application. We can propose a solution or option for any situation and we are not only capable of the application, but would do so with excellence. I have seen, first hand, the flip-side of the coin – a builder, or sub-contractor for other companies install systems with no regard to whether it would work in 5-10 years, since they won’t be around.
Foundation wall cracks signify a weakening structure that could be absorbing excess water from a nearby source or extra load on top. Although all concrete structures have a few cracks, if you notice the cracks in your basement keep growing, it could mean trouble. Contact us for the most reliable basement floor crack repair services.
Since all homes are different, and each problem is unique, often we propose a combination of materials and solutions, for example: to properly waterproof a wall we might suggest drain tile system, pump, epoxy with carbon fiber, or polyurethane. On another, a simple dig and seal from the outside. On another, an entire wall system (we have many) with a sub-floor drain system. On another, just a drain tile system, with a wall management system. Only a proper inspection can determine which solution works best for you.