The 4 Different Types of Building Foundation Cracks

Foundation cracks may seem like minor problems, but they can become serious over time. The cause and type of foundation crack makes a difference in the seriousness. The location of the crack can also be a determining factor. There are engineering and construction companies that inspect and repair foundation cracks in commercial buildings. They have the knowledge, training, and equipment needed for commercial work.

4 Kinds of Foundation Cracks

The different types of foundation cracks can be differentiated and dealt with by professional engineering and construction companies.

  1. Diagonal foundation cracks: A diagonal crack in the foundation may start at the top of a wall and then run diagonally towards the corner of the cement wall or foundation. This type of crack is caused by the wall or foundation rotating. The bottom is staying in place while       the top is rolling inward.
  2. Vertical cracks: This type of crack goes from the top to the bottom of a wall or foundation. They can start out very thin and then increase in width. The crack can be any length and is a sign of water pressure and seepage or of foundation vertical settlement.
  3. Horizontal cracks: Horizontal cracks are more serious because they signal a wall moving inward due to water pressure or a rebar pop caused by metal rebar being placed too close to the outer edge of the wall and     making it bend or break, cracking the wall.
  4. Map Cracks: These are like spider webs going in all directions and might be cosmetic only. If they continue to enlarge, an expert should be called.

In addition to the major kinds of cracks, there are hairline cracks that are narrow but may go all the way through the concrete, allowing water to leak into a space. Spalling cracks follow the direction of the interior rebar found in concrete walls and foundations. They may look like concrete flaking off the surface. This is caused by water permeating the concrete and corroding the rebar. Concrete block walls might develop stair step cracks. This type of crack is in the mortar joints and indicates a foundation problem.

Causes for Foundation Wall Cracks

Cracks in foundations and masonry walls can be caused by the shrinking of concrete mortar or soil settlement under the foundation caused by heavy rains and water damage or soil that has compressed. Soil pressure from clay soil or soil that is saturated with water will push on a wall or foundation with a lot of pressure. And finally, construction defects such as too little reinforcement, undersize footings, or substandard concrete can cause weakness.

Correcting the Crack problem and Preventing Future Problems

The methods of concrete crack repair depend on the type and seriousness of the crack. The cause of the cracks must be determined and corrected. If there is a problem with the soil a building is located on or If there is evidence of building movement, that must be stabilised.

But, for relatively small cracks, solutions might include concrete sealant materials, epoxy resins, wrap and seal systems, healer-sealer crack sealants, and more. There are also specialised structural engineering systems for concrete, epoxy supported grouts, and polyurethane crack sealants to choose from.

A professional concrete repair company expert will be needed to make the decision on concrete crack repairs. The concrete foundation experts can determine the type of cracks, the cause of the cracks, and the correct solution to the cracking problem.

Photo by Milly Eaton from Pexels

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