The foundation is the most important structural element of your beautiful home. Unfortunately, it is tucked away from view and its problems might not be noticed in time. According to the Concrete Foundations Association of North America (CFA), foundation cracks form 78% of the problems most homeowners encounter.
Some signs to look for, according to CFA, include horizontal or stair-step cracks along walls, tilting chimneys, cracks along door and window openings, bowing and bulging walls, among others. With your hectic daily schedule, it becomes almost impossible to note these foundation cracks and their symptomatic signs. This calls for more intense home monitoring in order to call in a foundation contractor immediately a sign is spotted.
Causes of Foundation Cracks
This is the biggest risk to your foundation and by extension to your expensive investment. Water pressure can either be upward, better known as hydrostatic pressure, or inward, which is technically known as lateral pressure, against your foundation walls. Too much water in the soil around a foundation causes swelling thus pushing against the wall. This soil pressure causes cracking which jeopardizes your home. Plumbing leaks, poor roof drainage and poor grading are among main causes of excess water.
2. Poor Foundation Compaction
Your house will settle unevenly if the foundation concrete was laid unprofessionally and the soil around it received inadequate compaction. The effect of such oversight is shifting of your foundation leading to cracks due to insufficient support.
3. Type of Soil
Expansive soils and clay soils are very unpredictable for foundation construction. There are dramatic changes after the foundation is laid with clay spoils expanding in case of too much moisture and shrinking, tremendously causing foundation settling.
4. Tree Roots
If your house is next to a big tree or bushes, it is most likely their roots will exert great pressure on the foundation leading to hair cracks. It is important to note that roots can grow as far away as the height of the tree, which means no tree should be close to your foundation.
This is an overlooked cause of foundation problem. After all, who can associate lack of water in the soil as a foundation hazard? Well, when moisture dries completely from the soil, shrinkage occurs leaving a gap between the foundation and compacted soil. This allows for foundation movement and eventually cracks.
It is not easy to detect foundation cracks and there is thus need for professional diagnosis by a professional contractor in order to initiate prompt corrective measures.