Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Friday, September 18th, 2020 by Margot Cornelius
Wall cracks are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Cracks evolve in specific ways based on the root cause. Some cracks are aesthetic and a result of understandable settlement around your home. Then there’s the structural kind and over time they will worsen. This is not the news you want to hear, I know. Homeownership can seem like a constant list of things to fix.
Let’s shift perspectives for a moment.
Your home is possibly one of your largest investments and assessing the state of your wall cracks regularly will bear dividends in the long run. We’re playing the long game and today I’ll highlight possible causes of your wall cracks so you can make an informed decision when you do spot one.
The hairline cracks caused by regular home settlement is not something to worry about. These vertical cracks are thin, and you can barely fit a needle into this crack. However, if you notice that over time it has widened into a coin slot, you need to call us. Actively widening vertical cracks allow water to enter your basement. Once water finds a new pathway, it will continue to widen these once benign cracks.
Soil settlement is particularly worrisome as we enter a season of rain and potential flooding. As soil under your home becomes saturated, it will compress causing shifting. Floods can also cause soil to totally wash away. If you have an existing vertical crack in your foundation wall or footing, that part of the wall will sink down into the shifting soil. In this case, these vertical cracks are structural, and we need to reinforce the walls before we start any wall crack repairs. A weakened foundation wall is a major problem and will require us to conduct an inspection.
When your home was first built, soil was extracted and then replaced around your new foundation. This backfilled soil isn’t as stable as the tightly packed and dense soil farther away. Water can infiltrate this layer and form a water table around your home. This prolonged, increased hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls will cause horizontal cracks which can lead to wall failure. We can intervene at the early onset of these horizontal cracks by reinforcing your foundation walls. If you live in near a body of water, hydrostatic pressure will be an ongoing issue and we have unique solutions to help you reinforce your walls.
In general, you do not have any control over the construction of your home. Weak reinforcements, cheap concrete or something like undersized footings, will continue to undermine the strength of your foundation and you will start to see structural issues in your home starting with horizontal wall cracks. These types of cracks lead to bowed walls which will result in wall failure without any intervention.
Addressing these kinds of issues requires a complete inspection to determination which of our foundation repair solutions suits your unique challenges. Any foundation wall cracks need to be inspected sooner rather than later. Call us for a free inspection for your peace of mind.