The foundation of a house is one of the most exposed areas on a home, since it is in contact day and night with the damp and cold ground surrounding it. Therefore, noticing cracks and other abnormalities in your foundation is not uncommon, but almost always a critical issue that needs to be looked at by professionals.
Not all damages to the supporting foundation will need repairs, but some types require urgent attention due to the ease of which the cracks can spread and cause even more damage, ultimately affecting the entire home in terms of stability. Because of this potential danger, it is often recommended that home owners regularly spend a few minutes checking up on whether or not the foundation is in need of repairs or a maintenance check.
Damages caused by creaks and cracks can cause water to enter in behind the outer layer of the foundation itself, and build up enough moisture to in turn freeze over during cold nights, further expanding and damaging the infrastructure along the way. At this point it is almost always necessary to consult professionals about the potential for foundation repair, since this outer layer is the first layer of protection. If this layer has been damaged, then the inner layers will be more vulnerable and thus enter a state of disrepair much faster than otherwise.
There’s a few different major types of cracks, that through their symptoms tell professionals something about the type of damage that is occurring. In broad terms there are two types of cracks, those that affect the internal structure of the foundation, and those that are merely superficial and cosmetic of nature.
It is the first type of cracks that are dangerous, and a rule of thumb says that if there’s a stepping to the cracks, or other form of pattern that more often than not means a major risk to the integral structure, whereas hairline cracks only affect the external and protective layer of plaster. It is important not to run your own diagnosis based on this article alone, and it is always recommended to get expert opinions before deciding whether or not your foundation is safe for yourself and your family.
Another major point of concern is when the cracks are growing, this is almost always a serious issue, especailly when not only superficial in the cracks, and can require a large intervention to save the foundation and home that it supports. If the cracks have not changed for months or years, there’s a good chance the cracking has settled down and it is not as critical to get fixed.
In order to repair these types of foundation issues, a number of methods and technologies exist to help homeowners manage the situation in a cost-effective and orderly manner.
- Steel Piers
- Helical Piers
- Concrete Piers
- Segmented piers
- Spot Piers
- Polyurethane foam
Which technique and material is correct for your home is dependent on a number of aspects, all of which a professional should be able to answer much better than any online article. The common denominator for all of the above options is that more often than not the problems can be eliminated completely, and the house and it’s supporting foundation often ends up being stronger and more robust than when new.