Fixing Cracked Block Foundations More Easily
One of the most frustrating problems you can deal with as a homeowner is a cracked block foundation. Of course, you never want to have foundation problems in general. Foundation problems are a huge issue that plagues many different homeowners and can cause everything from random problems throughout the home to serious foundation failure. If you have a cracked block foundation, you need to know it’s there and be able to fix it. Here’s how you can do just that.
How to Discover a Cracked Block Foundation
Before you can fix a cracked block foundation, you first need to know it’s there in the first place. Here’s how you can find out about a cracked block foundation in your home.
- Secondary Problems
The first thing you need to think about is how a cracked block foundation can cause secondary problems. Although secondary problems are frustrating in their own right, they can also lead you to the base problem, which is a cracked block foundation. Keep an eye out for any of these issues:
- Waterproofing concerns
- High indoor humidity
- Foundation settling
- Uneven floors
These may be problems you can spot on your own and you’re more likely to spot them if you go down to your crawl space or basement. However, regardless of how they come up, these problems are all very important to maintain. Make sure you think about how these concerns might indicate issues with your block foundation.
- Get an Expert Inspection
It’s always a good idea to do an expert inspection every year in your home and basement or crawl space. An expert inspection can help you get to the bottom of your general home foundation problems, which can include all sorts of issues. Experts have trained for years to know more about these problems, which means they can go into your crawl space or basement and look for issues you might not be able to notice.
This is why it’s so important to get that expert inspection every year even if you don’t think you need it. Even if you don’t feel like you have any crawl space, basement, or foundation problems, it’s still a good idea to get an expert to look at them. The “all clear” will just be a great sign that you have nothing to worry about moving forward.
- Inspect Your Own Home
An expert inspection is an important element of your day-to-day life, but what about self-inspection? This should also be an important element of your day-to-day life. Even though you might not notice all the same things an expert would, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up.
Self-inspection is largely beneficial because it allows you to note when things are changing, not just when things are going extremely wrong. An expert inspector might not notice that a specific thing is weirder than normal, but if you’re heavily interested in how your home looks and functions, you’re going to notice it more easily.
Which Problems Can a Cracked Block Foundation Create?
All in all, a cracked block foundation creates a variety of problems, including many problems you might not know about. Here’s a quick sampling of those problems.
- In the Basement or Crawl Space
The basement or crawl space itself can have serious problems when you have a cracked block foundation. First and foremost, a cracked block foundation lacks one thing that’s crucial for your basement or crawl space: waterproofing. There’s no way you’re going to be able to keep water from coming through a crack in your block foundation.
When you have this problem, you’re going to end up with all sorts of issues running through your home as a whole. It can also undo the waterproofing you’ve done in your crawl space or basement already. Especially if you’ve already spent a lot of money on waterproofing your basement or crawl space, why would you let a foundation crack undo all that hard work?
- In the Rest of the Home
The crawl space or basement itself will be an important element of your cracked block foundation, but it’s far from the only thing you need to think about. When you have a cracked block foundation, you can also see concerns throughout your home as a whole. That’s because the foundation has a direct impact on all sorts of issues in your home.
For example, if your foundation starts to shift and move, you’re going to see cracks in the walls throughout your home because it’s pulling apart on itself. If your foundation starts to settle, you’re going to see problems. If the waterproofing in your foundation is lacking, that excess water is going to go throughout your home in general.
- In the Property as a Whole
The problems with your cracked block foundation don’t stop at the home itself. You can end up with a variety of issues all across the property the home is sitting on. For the most part, these problems stem from the same place: the beginning pieces of the crawl space or basement block foundation cracks.
To get to the bottom of this problem, you need to ask what caused the cracks in your cracked block foundation. Whether it’s excess hydrostatic pressure, low-quality building, or a natural disaster, it’s going to have an impact on your property in general. You need to be able to consider the impact of the problem on your property as a whole.
FAQs About a Cracked Block Foundation
Whenever you have a crack in your block foundation, you need to at least address it. All cracks in your block foundation have the possibility of becoming a problem, which means it’s a good idea to take a look at the potential problems.
- Hairline Cracks
The only time that block foundation cracks might not be a big deal is when you have hairline cracks, which are typically cracks that are so thin that you can’t even fit a business card inside. At this point, the crack probably isn’t going through the entire foundation and it’s probably okay; the cracks might have come from concrete shrinkage or even the natural settling of the house.
Hairline cracks can form for several reasons, but they are rarely symptoms or causes of larger structural problems. Where hairline cracks are caused by serious problems, they tend to quickly spread and escalate into larger cracks. When this happens, you should immediately seek professional help; cracks that spread quickly are a sure sign of serious structural issues.
- Other Cracks
Pretty much all other cracks in the block foundation have the possibility of being a problem, no matter their size. If you get to a point where you can fit a business card into the crack, there’s a good chance the crack is indicating a foundation problem, and you need to talk to an expert about it to make sure that your home is secure and safe for you and your family.
Generally speaking, there are two ways in which a crack can spread; across the surface or through a structure. If cracks spread from one side of your foundation to the other but are very shallow, this is a problem, but not a terrible one. However, if you have just one or two cracks that go all the way through your foundation you are sure to see more problems forming with alarming speed.
There are many potential reasons for cracked block foundations. It’s not enough to just know that you have a cracked block foundation. You need to know why you have it. These are a few of the reasons that you might have experienced cracked block foundations.
- Foundation Settling
If your foundation is settling, it’s probably not settling at the same rate across the entirety of the foundation. That means you’re probably going to start seeing issues where one side of the foundation settles more quickly than the other, causing a weight imbalance that can lead to cracks in the foundation as well as other structural issues. These problems are caused by the pinpoints of extreme pressure that uneven settlement creates.
Settlement can be caused by several issues, but it almost always comes down to the state of the soil under and around your home. Very weak, marshy soil, for example, is prone to giving way under the weight of a property, leading to subsidence. Settlement, however, is more likely to be caused by the shrinking of expansive, clay-based soils.
- Issues with the Foundation’s Build
With the first build of your foundation, the initial building crew needs to make sure that they’re creating a foundation with enough structural support. However, the crew may end up having issues with the initial pour of the foundation, which can cause them to have problems ensuring that your foundation is as structurally sound as it needs to be. Problems in the process of construction are just some potential factors in foundation weaknesses.
Problems with the design process and the materials put to use can also cause issues in the long term. If the depth of the foundation is not properly calculated, for example, it may be unable to withstand the weight of your property. Likewise, if the concrete used to form the foundation is somehow unsuitable for the purpose, the property will quickly suffer.
- Talk to an Expert
It’s hard to know why you’re having cracks in your foundation. This is one of the reasons you should call an expert whenever you have issues with cracks spreading through your floors and walls. An expert will be able to give you more information about the basic reasons why you might be having cracks in your foundation, which is the first step to fixing it.
It can be tempting to ignore small cracks, but we urge you not to do this. If you ignore cracks and they are being caused by foundation problems, they will only get worse. As they get worse they will get more expensive to fix and lead to more complicated issues. So, while it can be tempting to ignore it or try a DIY fix, it’s far better to talk to an expert.
It’s possible to have a cracked block foundation and not know it, especially if you don’t do a lot of self-inspections and you don’t go into the area with the foundation very often. Here’s how you can increase the chance that you’ll know about your cracked foundation.
- Looking for Secondary Symptoms
When you are trying to diagnose the causes of a cracked block foundation, there is often more than one cause at play. Looking for secondary symptoms will be a crucial part of finding out about your cracked foundation. It’s important to note that for the most part, a cracked block foundation will leave a mark. You will rarely have a cracked block foundation with absolutely no symptoms; you just need to learn what those symptoms will be and how you can fix them in the simplest way possible.
Finding all contributing causes is incredibly important to ensuring that your cracked block foundation stays fixed permanently. If you address only one of the contributing factors, you will see a recurrence of these cracks and problems in the future. Furthermore, finding all causes will help you to find co-occurring issues that may or may not be at work in your home.
- Doing Your Inspections
Did you know that it’s possible to inspect your foundation? Even though you won’t be able to catch very small things that an expert will be more well-equipped to catch, you can still make sure that you know what’s going on in your foundation. You just have to take a look every few months and make sure you’re paying attention to cracks and shifting.
The best time to do a personal inspection is on a clear, dry, bright day. Start by walking the perimeter to look for signs of cracking, crumbling, sinking, or heaving. Make a note of any damage that you see and write it down. You should then check the interior of your home, particularly your basement (if you have one). If you notice uneven flooring, cracks, or standing water, you should note this.
- Getting an Expert Opinion
If you’re ever worried about your foundation, you might want to consider calling in an expert. There’s never anything wrong with getting an expert opinion on your foundation problems, especially if those problems have a possibility of turning into something very severe. Talk to an expert to learn more about your options.
Once you have completed your home inspection, you should contact a foundation repair specialist and let them know what you have found (unless you find nothing at all). If you find wide cracks, signs of sinking, or large mold formations, you should get a professional inspection carried out to make sure that you know exactly what is happening in your home.
Covering block foundation cracks can be a great way to manage the aesthetic of your foundation, which is why you might consider doing it. However, the problem with this is that it doesn’t fix the problems you’re facing with block foundation cracks.
- An Aesthetic Fix
The main problem with covering the crack in your foundation is that it’s an aesthetic fix and that’s all. That’s because it hinges 100% on the foundation’s looks and doesn’t get to the root of the problem. A purely aesthetic fix won’t do much to fix your home’s foundation, which is why it’s not ideal. An aesthetic fix is simply buying time.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that there is no place for aesthetic repairs. Once you have got an expert to assess your foundation and implement a proper, permanent solution, aesthetic fixes are a great way to ensure that your home looks good in addition to being stable. So, while we would not recommend filling in cracks as the only fix, it is a part of the overall solution.
- A Permanent Fix
If you want to make sure you have a well-functioning foundation, you should make sure you’re thinking about the underlying problem so you can fix that. A Groundworks expert will be able to take a look around your foundation, find out what’s going on, and let you know what you can do to fix it. We have several permanent solutions available for every problem.
Whether the cause of your cracked block foundation is settlement, subsidence, or poor design, we will work tirelessly to find a solution that works for you. Whether you need foundation piers or wall anchors we will restore your structure to stability and repair the evidence of damage.
Fixing Your Cracked Block Foundation Can Be Easier With an Expert
When you’re looking for the best way to fix your cracked block foundation, there are some things you need to keep in mind. However, possibly the most important thing to keep in mind is how effective an expert’s help can be in maintaining your cracked block foundation. An expert knows what they’re doing and may be able to maintain your home’s stability a little more effectively.
If you’re worried about issues with your foundation, the best option is to talk to an expert about it as soon as possible. A local foundation expert can give you more information about your cracked block foundation, including a variety of ways you might be able to fix it.