Homes are built to be resilient. However, nothing is completely perfect. It is therefore not uncommon to spot cracks and other imperfections in foundations. These flaws may occur during the construction phase while others may occur over time as the foundation settles or succumbs to external pressure.
A cracking foundation is often a source of deep concern for a homeowner. After all, cracks are often a sign of trouble. However, before you spiral into depression, it is a good idea to determine the actual cause of the cracks.
The following are the most common causes of a cracking foundation:
The soil surrounding your foundation is vital for its structural integrity. The soil offers support to the foundation walls and floor. If the soil shrinks away during drought as a result of loss of moisture, a gap will form between the soil and the foundation. The foundation will have lost its support and is likely to crack.
If the moisture content of the soil is increases above normal levels during heavy rainfall or as a result of melting snow, the soil expands. The hydrostatic pressure against the walls of the foundation will cause it to crack as the walls are pushed inward.
When the ground shakes, your foundation shakes along with it. The damage to your foundation will depend on the degree of the earthquake. Shaking the foundation, even if it’s just a slight tremor, can result in the formation of cracks.
Are your pipes leaking? If so, the water being absorbed by the soil is contributing to the moisture levels of the soil. This will result in increased pressure against the foundation walls if the situation is not dealt with. The result will be cracks in the foundation.
Like all other solid materials, concrete expands and contracts depending on its temperature. When it is extremely hot, concrete expands. When it is extremely cold, it will contract. Extreme changes in temperatures can result in the cracking of the concrete slab.
It is important to have your cracking foundation inspected by a basement waterproofing contractor. This will ensure that you know the true cause of the cracks. The contractor will also advise you on the best method to deal with the cracks for the long-term and keep water out of your basement.