What To Do When Walls Crack
From basement waterproofing to crawl space repair, we’ve seen it all at Foundation Solutions 360. More importantly, we know how to fix these foundation problems. As a foundation repair company, we strive to create solutions for those issues that seem to be tearing your home apart. In today’s blog, we’ll be covering what you should do when your walls start to crack. Wall cracks are something that occur because of settling and or shifting. These all too common problems can grow to be a much bigger problem if you don’t contact a foundation repair company as quickly as possible to address the damage.
Why Are There Cracks In My Wall?
Before we jump into what you should do when your walls begin to crack, let’s address why your walls are cracking in the first place.
Living in Michigan, the soil around your house will expand and shrink, especially when the weather changes. Colder weather will freeze the soil, which causes expansion. While cold weather is just inevitable living in Michigan, it can cause problems in your home. On the other hand, very warm and dry weather will have similar effects but from soil shrinking. Around August and September when it dries out, the soils shrink. This creates voids in the ground around your home. If the drainage around your home is improper or compromised and water has been wreaking havoc around your home, this will sometimes show up months later. For instance, when the water has eroded the soils and it dries out in the late summer, the soil will shrink and voids will be more prominent. This is when a crack will appear and your home will shift and settle. Year after year this will occur and the settling will continue to grow.
Sometimes, your home was built on poor soils.There can be a number of reasons for this. Was the area a marshy area before development? Did you build or buy your home near a body of water or canal? Are you on clay or sand? Was too much soil excavated during the construction phase of your home? Naturally, a home will settle after it’s built, but for various reasons stated above, your home could have started on the wrong foot due to the soil. The wider, diagonal, step and horizontal cracks in your home can be due to settling that indicates a more serious problem at hand.
Similar to being built on a soil, structural problems as well can cause wall cracks in your home. The structural problems can develop in a few ways. The signs that you should look out for are floors that are uneven and large cracks in the wall as well as crooked doorways to name a few. Beams, beam pockets, columns and wood members are all susceptible to failure if installed improperly or not built for the structural load that’ been added. Structural problems can occur in any home, but you should get it inspected and corrected to protect your family and your investment.
Too Much Water
Lastly, another reason that you could have cracks on the wall can be from water near the outside of your wall. Winter will cause freezing and thawing up to 4 feet below the surface. This creates unstable pressures against the walls. Concrete doesn’t flex, so the result is a crack.
Key Points for Cracks
The best advice for any crack is to get it inspected. However, some homeowners want to monitor the crack before calling anyone. If this is you, here’s some tips for monitoring. A piece of chalk across the crack is a great tool. You need to epoxy this chalk across the crack in the opposite direction of the crack. If that wall moves, the chalk will break. Another idea is a diagonal mark across the crack. If you come back at a later date and the lines don’t match up, you can bet there’s been movement. One more tip would be drawing a 1” line across the crack. It’s very hard to measure a 1/16 and then coming back 6 months and trying to measure 1/8”. So it’s a good practice to measure your line from end to end. This will give you a solid measure to compare for any movement.
About Foundation Repair
Once you have a good idea as to why the walls are cracked, it’s time to figure out what to do. The first and only thing you’ll want to do is call a professional foundation repair company to figure out what the problem is and how it can be addressed. You can’t fix a problem before addressing the root of it. Many companies offer what called a “bandaid” for cheap. Be careful and do your homework on finding the right contractor. If you as the homeowner decides to fix the wall cracks or settling yourself,be careful. The improper solution can cause more damage and in the end costing you more money to have a contractor fix it. Instead of trying to figure out what you can do to fix the cracks and settling, call on Foundation Solutions 360 to provide a solution that protects your home.