Foundation cracks are a common sight in many homes. They appear along foundations walls, near windows and doorways, and where walls intersect. Don’t get alarmed when you notice them unless they’re wider than ¼ of an inch. Most cracks start small, then widen with time. Mark and monitor these cracks before you take action.
With time, foundation cracks will start letting in water, ultimately threatening the structural integrity of your Cincinnati, OH, home. So, it’s important to know what causes cracks and how to fix them.
1. Foundation settlement
Whenever you build a home, you can expect the foundation to settle after a few years. Settling usually happens uniformly. However, there are times the foundation doesn’t sink uniformly, resulting in uneven floors. Homes built on poorly compacted soil are vulnerable as their tolerance level depends on the soil type and foundation design.
Another reason cracks appear on the foundation is earthquakes. Tremors and quakes happen when tectonic plates deep inside the earth move and collide. When this happens, they cause seismic waves that shake the ground. Such quakes can move the stratum of soil on which your home is built, damaging your foundation.
3. Natural curing
Cosmetic cracks appear on the concrete foundation walls of newly built homes within two years. This type is generally non-threatening and usually occurs when the concrete dries up or gives up its moisture. You can easily fix these hairline cracks using epoxy or cement.
4. Frost heave
Heaving happens a lot in winter and has the potential to damage your concrete foundation. When the temperatures dip, the soil freezes and expands upward. This upheaval moves the ground on which the foundation is built, leading to cracks. The shifting soil can tilt floors or destabilize them. The level of damage increases as temperatures consistently fall below 40 degrees.
5. Summer heat
Extreme heat in the summer can also damage your foundation. The ground will heat up during the day, causing the concrete to expand. At night, the concrete will cool off and shrink back to its original position. This heating and cooling cycle will trigger cracks on your foundation.
6. Poor grading
Improper grading does affect the foundation. Whenever it rains, water will flow back and not out as you’d expect. Most of it will end up in the foundation. This water will weaken the concrete foundation, causing cracks. Regrading your yard will solve the problem.
7. Expansive soils
Some types of soils contain minerals that absorb water. These soils expand when they come into contact with water and shrink when the weather warms up. The cycle of expansion and contraction can lead to structural deformities and cracks. The ground load, degree of soil saturation, and the thickness of the soil stratum determine the swelling potential of these soils.
Typical rainstorms produce a lot of water, which can wreak havoc. The excess water will cause the soil surrounding your home’s foundation to expand and push up against the concrete. This upheaval causes the walls to buckle or crack. You can avoid this problem by creating proper drainage so water doesn’t pool whenever it rains.
9. Tree roots
Water-seeking roots normally go far and wide looking for water during summer. If there’s water under your foundation or around it, these roots will snake their way there and absorb the water. This causes the soil to shrink and settle. It’s this settlement that triggers cracks in the foundation. To avoid this problem, cut down all trees and shrubs that stand too close to the foundation.
Are You Looking for Professional Foundation Repair?
Foundation cracks don’t mean the end of your foundation. You can fix them and restore the structural integrity of your home. Get in touch with the experts at Ohio Basement Authority to schedule a free foundation inspection and repair quote. We can help you uncover the underlying problems that cause foundation cracks and fix them before they damage the most important part of your home.