Thursday, April 15th, 2021 by Amanda Waldmann
The basic structure of your home may not be something you think about often. You expect the garbage disposal or even the HVAC to have problems, but the walls? They’re just...there. Supporting the house.
Except they can fail, too. And then what do you do?
There are a variety of problems you might encounter with your foundation, from different types of cracks to shearing and crumbling, and we have solutions for all of it. Let’s look at the most common issues and what you (and we) can do.
Vertical cracks in a poured concrete wall can be tricky. Tiny, hairline cracks that have always been there, or that appear shortly after construction of the house, can actually be totally normal and just a side effect of that initial settlement of the newly poured walls. But any new cracks call for inspection, because they point to some shift in your foundation.
Unlike vertical cracks, there’s no innocent reason for horizontal wall cracks; if your walls have horizontal cracks, it means a shift below is causing the weight above them to rest unevenly. The result of this uneven pressure is often bowing or leaning of the wall and a crack at the major pressure point.
Stair Step Cracks
Stair step cracks appear only in block walls, when pressure on the wall causes the mortar between the blocks to break. While block walls can also have horizontal cracks, you’ll often see a stair step pattern as the crack follows the mortar.
Shearing occurs when pressure on a block foundation wall causes it to lean and shift away from the first row of blocks (which usually has more support from it’s positioning on the footer and floor).
If you have stone walls, you’re probably tired of hearing about wall cracks, because they don’t apply to you. Instead, you get crumbling, where the mortar between the stones starts falling apart. This can be one of the scariest wall issues to encounter, because it seems impossible to fix.
We have multiple solutions for wall cracks, and can customize a system depending on multiple factors. The placement and severity of the wall crack is one factor, but we also take into account your property lines and ultimate goals when designing a solution with our PowerBraces, GeoLock wall anchors, and Carbon Armor straps.
If crumbling is your issue, we offer an excellent solution with Shotcrete. In the past, the only solution was to lift the entire house, tear down the existing foundation walls, and pour new ones. This puts your home at risk of damage and is time consuming and expensive.
But with Shotcrete, we can install a steel framework on top of the existing walls and use a special spray concrete technique to create new walls in place. It takes a few days and the only disruption to your life is a little noise.
Have cracked or crumbling walls? Call us today to schedule a free inspection.