How to Fix Concrete Cracks More Easily
Concrete cracks are a problem that can occur in your foundation for a variety of reasons. If you’re experiencing problems with concrete cracks, you need to make sure you’re solving them. It’s not enough to try your best to fix the way the cracks look. Genuinely fixing concrete cracks that occur in and around your home can make it easier to manage its health. Here’s what you need to know about finding and fixing concrete cracks.
Catching Concrete Cracks
First off, you need to make sure you catch these concrete cracks as soon as they come about. Here are a few steps you can take to catch these concrete cracks more effectively.
- Know the Secondary Signs
It’s good to know the secondary signs of issues with concrete. When your concrete foundation starts to have problems, you’re going to see other problems across the home as well. If you keep an eye out for these signs of cracking concrete foundations, it’ll be easier for you to catch it early on:
- Sinking foundation
- Uneven floors
- Uneven concrete
- Water problems
- Musty crawl space
These secondary signs exist in the crawl space, basement, or foundation itself and in the rest of the home. For example, if you notice uneven floors in the general area of your home, you might have a problem with your foundation. If you go into the basement or crawl space and notice a musty smell, you probably have a problem on your hands.
- Do Your Inspections
It’s also a good idea to inspect your own home every once in a while. Doing a self-inspection can be more difficult than having an expert do it because you may not have the training that allows you to see the biggest problems by yourself. However, your inspection can still be beneficial.
Self-inspections can make it easier for you to note issues with your foundation, basement, or crawl space, especially because you can check in these areas every day to see how they are changing. An expert can’t always note when things are changing, only when things have progressed to a point where it’s a problem, so a self-inspection can be genuinely helpful.
- Receive a Yearly Inspection From an Expert
Every year, it’s a good idea to receive a yearly inspection from an expert. Although your self-inspections can help gauge whether you’re having any issues an expert will need to fix, they won’t be the best option when you’re trying to make sure you know all the problems in your home.
More often than not, a yearly inspection will yield an “all clear” instead of any warning signs of trouble. However, it’s still important to do these inspections. You want to know nothing is wrong, but if there is something wrong, you need to know so you can act on it as soon as possible.
Do Concrete Cracks Have an Impact?
Some homeowners wonder whether the concrete cracks need a fix. Maybe there’s no reason to fix them. There are a lot of reasons you should. Here are a few of them.
- The Foundation Itself
The foundation is an important part of your home as a whole. If your foundation isn’t healthy, the rest of your home won’t be either. You’ve likely heard the word “foundation” used as a metaphor for the most basic and important elements of a belief or practice. The same is true of your home’s foundation.
The foundation of your home should be something you pay a lot of attention to. If you want to make sure your home’s foundation is safe and won’t end up sinking or settling, you need to make sure you manage the foundation accordingly. That means avoiding any issues with your basement or crawl space and foundation, including cracks in the concrete.
- The Crawl Space or Basement
The foundation typically sits right on top of the crawl space or is part of the basement. That means any problems with your foundation are also going to turn into problems with your crawl space or basement. When you have cracks in your foundation, they will turn into problems in the crawl space or the basement.
That can include issues with waterproofing, general crawl space or basement concerns, foundation sinking, and much more. If you’re not careful enough with your foundation, that’s going to grow into more general problems with your crawl space or basement, depending on which one you have. When you fix the foundation cracks, you’re also fixing other areas of your home.
- The Rest of the Home
Of course, if foundation problems impact your crawl space or basement, they will affect the rest of your home. You might experience high levels of indoor humidity, condensation, dust rising up from the crawl space or basement, and much more. It’s important to note that your home as a whole doesn’t have to have serious problems for these things to have an impact.
FAQs About Concrete Cracks
Concrete cracks can occur in any type of concrete, regardless of whether it’s foundation concrete or not. The important thing to remember is that all types of concrete cracks can be potentially damaging, which means you always need to be on the lookout for concrete cracks.
- Cracks In Other Concrete
It’s common for foundation concrete cracks to be a more serious problem than non-foundation concrete cracks. However, non-foundation concrete cracks also typically indicate foundation problems, just in different ways. These cracks may indicate, for example, that your home’s weight has shifted, which can start to show up in the larger structure of your home as well as your foundation after some time.
Other areas of a home that commonly see concrete cracks are driveways, patios, external stairs, and walls. Each of these surfaces will display damage in slightly different ways, but cracks are an overall sign that any structure is being placed under excessive strain either as a result of hydrostatic pressure, foundation damage, or even a lack of proper support.
- The Importance of All Concrete Cracks
Regardless of the type of concrete that you’ve started to see cracks in, you must note that the problem exists in the first place. There may be different methods of managing different types of concrete cracks, but it’s important to make sure you know if they exist in your home. Otherwise, you won’t be able to manage them at all.
Crack management is vital to every home because it will allow you to make an assessment of risk and call in experts which the damage shows signs of spreading. When you first notice cracks, you should be aware of their size and position, then monitor them for signs of spreading, multiplying, and deepening. If you see this, it’s time to call a professional because spreading cracks are a sign that your property is being actively damaged while static cracks tend to be caused as a property settles after construction.
It is a good idea to pay attention to the direction of your concrete cracks, especially if they’re in your basement foundation. However, even if you see a type of crack that doesn’t indicate serious foundation failure, you should have an expert check out the crack to make sure there’s nothing to worry about.
- Horizontal Cracks
Horizontal cracks typically mean the walls are bowing in or out. In the basement, it’s much more common to see the walls bowing in from hydrostatic pressure, but in above-ground rooms, the walls may bow outward slightly. This outward bowing can be caused by excessive pressure or a lack of support. Either way, a horizontal crack typically indicates that the top and bottom of the wall are no longer in alignment.
As this issue progresses, you will notice several signs. In addition to initial bowing or bulging and cracking, you will also start to notice gaps between your walls and the ceiling or floor. As this problem progresses, you run a real risk of seeing a wall collapse entirely. As such, it’s best to deal with this issue quickly.
- Stair-Step Cracks
Stair-step cracks can indicate many issues, but are most commonly signs of foundation settlement, especially in a brick wall. This typically occurs when one side of the wall has started to sink, but the other side hasn’t. Due to weight shifting, this can leave one side unsupported, resulting in stair-step cracks as the mortar between bricks begins to give way.
Stair-step cracks can be hard to notice at first because of their positioning between bricks. Look for darker patches of mortar between bricks, moss forming in focussed locations, and crumbling sections of mortar. Once the damage progresses, of course, you won’t be able to ignore it; stair-step cracks can be very large, and the bricks affected will begin to break away.
- Diagonal Cracks
Diagonal cracks coming from the edges of the concrete or the corners of windows and doors typically indicate you’re experiencing some sort of foundation failure. They’re commonly the concrete and drywall equivalent to stair-step cracks, indicating that there’s a weight problem or a problem with weight distribution somewhere in the area. These cracks are usually accompanied by some kind of dampness issues.
Diagonal cracks are far easier to notice than stair-step cracks for two main reasons. Firstly, they are more likely to form on the inside of your home than stair-step cracks. Secondly, diagonal cracks can spread vertically with greater speed – this means that they are likely to reach eye level more quickly. If you see diagonal cracks weeping water, please contact a professional straight away; this can lead to wall collapse very quickly.
It depends on what you mean by “smaller.” Hairline cracks tend not to be a big problem, but other small cracks can be. The biggest problem may arise when you have many cracks, especially if you’re seeing hairline cracks form after the concrete has already dried fully.
- Hairline Cracks
For the most part, hairline cracks, which you can’t even fit a business card into, are not a significant problem. These may occur when the concrete dries because the drying process typically causes the concrete to shrink slightly. There’s nothing wrong with these hairline cracks, for the most part; some of them are unavoidable and most are neither a common symptom or cause of serious damage to a structure.
Hairline cracks can occur on many surfaces but are most common in poured concrete and drywall. You’re likely to see these cracks in many different places around your home, but they are not something that you should worry about unless they show signs of spreading rapidly. In this case, they may be leading to larger cracks as a result of ongoing pressure.
- Cracks Larger Than Hairline
If you can fit a business card into the crack, it’s no longer a hairline crack and warrants further investigation. That means it might be more of a structural crack and could be a sign that your property is sinking, settling, or otherwise unstable. This is one of the reasons you need to make sure you manage all your cracks, including ones that seem smaller than the others.
There are two main ways in which a crack can spread; across a surface and through it. Cracks that spread across the surface of a wall may look more worrying, but it is cracks that spread all the way through a wall that are the most dangerous. Of course, there are very few ways in which you can tell how deep a crack has become without a professional.
Fixing your concrete cracks should be something that’s near the top of your priority list. However, that doesn’t mean you should opt to try and fix it yourself. You must hand the fix over to an expert.
- DIY Fixes From a Local Big-Box Store
Sure, you could get some grout from your local big-box store and fill the cracks in your concrete. This would make it look as though the cracks aren’t a big deal. Fixing these concrete cracks on the surface won’t be enough to fix things for good. Instead, you’ll just end up with a variety of foundation problems that persist far beyond your concrete cracks.
Dealing with the structural problems which are causing the cracks to form and spread is another matter entirely. Foundational and structural repairs are complex undertakings that require special tools and skills, there is also the matter of excavation. If you undertake structural repairs improperly, you could cause far more damage.
- Expert Solutions That Permanently Fix the Problem
When you do a DIY fix, you’re not fixing anything in most cases. Instead, you’re just covering the problem. These cracks will probably continue to widen and deepen, potentially causing the grout to drop out and remove any benefits you had previously when you “filled” them. You should get help from a Groundworks expert to fix your home’s underlying problems.
The benefits of getting professional help with structural repairs are numerous, of course, but the most obvious is the certainty that the underlying causes have been dealt with. This means that the solution is permanent and that you will get the best possible result the first time around. This will ensure that the process is cost-effective as well.
Fix Concrete Cracks More Effectively with an Expert’s Advice
Concrete cracks can be difficult to fix, especially if you don’t know what problems you’re dealing with. There are many reasons you might experience concrete cracks, ranging from very serious to relatively inoffensive, and you must be able to tackle these cracks with the care they deserve.
A foundation repair expert from your area can help you understand where the concrete cracks are coming from and how you can fix them for good. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t struggle with these problems in the future.