Foundation cracks can become a costly problem you should never delay in solving. These cracks are America’s leading structural-claim liability, and they require a team that can provide expert foundation repair. This ensures that both the cosmetic and the core problems are addressed to prevent the problem from becoming worse.
The three best practices for property owners are to recognize the issues, address the situation as best you can, then quickly contact professional foundation maintenance services. This guide will walk you through each of these important steps.
The Roots of Foundation Cracks and What They Can Cause
Foundation cracks can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or stair shaped. The panic of what could be wrong (and what repairs might cost) can stop positive action in its tracks. The reality is that being alarmed by foundation cracks isn’t necessary with a little knowledge and a lot of responsible awareness.
Cracks are caused by one or a combination of factors, including heavy drought, excessive rainfall, slope failure, poor excavation/construction, and other factors such as soil shift, inadequate drainage, or intruding tree roots. When one or more of these affects a foundation, it can cause potentially severe structural issues if left untreated, such as:
Your property relies on a strong foundation for stability. Foundation cracks can be the precursor to major effects in the home as the structure shifts, causing issues such as uneven floors, jammed doors and windows, and leaning/curved walls.
Crawl Space Problems
The basement is the usual place for foundation cracks to appear, but they’re not always plainly visible on open floors and walls. Foundation cracks can show themselves inside crawl spaces by impacting support beams or pillars. Excess moisture can also enter crawl spaces through foundation cracks and quickly cause structural and health issues.
Cracks climb, which means a foundation-level breach can make its way upward through the entire property, even compromising the roof.
Sufficiently wide foundation cracks allow insects such as termites and carpenter ants to enter a home. These invaders either nest in or feed on wood, which can compromise the integrity of structural supports.
Staying calm when foundations weaken requires recognizing these signs and being realistic about the problem, not reactionary about the potential price of repairs. Being proactive helps property owners do everything they can before contacting foundation maintenance services.
5 Ways to Approach Foundation Cracks
Every foundation crack requires calling the professionals, but that doesn’t leave property owners powerless. There are some important things people can do to be part of the solution.
1. Be Alert for Cracks on Every Level
Foundation cracks are found typically, but not solely, in basements. Perform regular checks wherever walls meet ceilings, above windows and doorways, and even on your chimney stack. Chimney checking can be an unsafe task best left to professionals, and so is fixing any cracks you might find.
2. Understand That Some Cracks Can Be Harmless
Alarm bells can ring at the sight of a crack, but benign ones are not uncommon in walls or floors. Temperature shifts year-round can cause building materials to expand and contract. These low-level cracks (usually less than 1/16 inch wide) require an expert to confirm but can typically be fixed with cement or caulk.
3. Take Care With Trees
Trees on your property can contribute to foundation cracks. A typical tree guzzles 150 gallons of water daily, and they’ll look for that by sapping your property’s soil. This causes the soil to dry out and contract, negatively affecting the foundation. A healthy tree will also expand its roots, which could crack basement floors or walls.
4. Control Your Soil’s Moisture Level
Dry soil causes foundation cracks, but so does soil that’s too well hydrated. Overly moist soil expands and causes foundation pressure in its own way. Directing gutter and downspout water away from the foundation, combined with a timed hose system, can help keep soil in optimum condition to fight the cracking effects of overly dry and/or wet weather.
5. Create a DIY Preventative Maintenance Program
Prevention is always better than a cure, and a few responsible practices around your property can make a big positive difference in preventing or minimizing foundation cracks. Speaking to a professional in foundation maintenance services is the safest and surest way to create an effective and site-specific care plan.
All these foundation best practices are built on teamwork between the property owner and the professionals. Some cracks may be relatively harmless, but the two biggest mistakes are doing nothing and trusting too much in DIY. Either approach could open the floodgates for a long and potentially disastrous list of consequences.
The Common Pitfalls of Mishandling Foundation Cracks
Few property problems wreak havoc like foundation issues can. Those narrow lines on floors or walls can leave homeowners wide open to multiple worries if they’re tackled alone.
- Small cracks often cause little concern. “I’ll deal with it when it’s more serious” isn’t saving you money today; it’s costing you money tomorrow.
- Even the tiniest foundation crack is big enough to house millions of harmful bacteria. Mold, mildew, and other spores won’t waste time thriving in moist cracks and can threaten the health, and even the life, of residents.
- Foundation cracks are warnings of an impending chain reaction. Plumbing, sewage, and electrical lines, as well as attached structures such as garages, are next in line to be negatively and expensively impacted.
- Sealants are not permanent solutions. Even the toughest brands applied diligently are cosmetic fixes at best. A core problem left unaddressed will continue to threaten the structure.
- Delaying foundation maintenance services can lead to cracks getting much worse under conditions such as heavy rainfall and drought. These affect whole communities and increase the waiting time until foundation repair services can reach your home.
- Poorly handled foundation issues can cause a property’s resale value to plummet.
There really is no contest between budgeting for a foundation crack repair bill and potentially shelling out for health expenses, plumbers, electricians, and builders. The choice is even easier when expert assistance comes with a free inspection and financing to make home repairs a seamless and stress-free process.
Contact the LUX Experts With Your Questions
If you’re feeling alarmed about foundation cracks, it’s time to call in a team of professionals to assess the situation and put those fears at ease. Lux Foundation Solutions delivers professional foundation repair services that have provided peace of mind to 1,000+ clients. Our seasoned team will keep a cool head and act fast to solve your issue.
Contact Lux Foundation Solutions today to speak to an expert.