Cracks in your foundation can happen for many different reasons. Whether you see cracks in the concrete floor, cracks in your foundation walls, or even if the cracking has started to show in the brick siding what caused them is usually a combination for some of the reasons listed in this article. There are two main categories in which we experience these foundation problems.
The first category of what causes foundation cracks is attributed the actual concrete itself, the installation, and what occurred during the curing process. Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, aggregate (rocks and sand) and water. As the concrete cures and the water evaporates it is inevitable that the concrete will shrink. Even new construction homes have basement cracks shortly after being built. Rapid drying, poor temperature while curing, and too much water in the concrete mixture are all reasons to cause foundation cracks that could result in leaking and a wet basement. Using the improper strength of concrete or having a lack of control joints could also contribute to the foundation cracking resulting in water damage. These reasons for cracking are typical are expected to be present in almost every foundation with poured concrete.
The next category can be summed up in one word: Pressure. Although, pressure can be caused by several different factors. The soil in which a foundation sits can become unstable due to drought, poor soil preparation during the build, rising water table, and improper yard drainage. Once the soil becomes unstable it puts tremendous burden on the foundation (pressure) to support the load without distributing/sharing load with the soil and the foundation will break.
The type of soil that the foundation sits in can cause the foundation to crack as well. Expansive soils have minerals that expand as they absorb water. Expansive soil, most typically clay, can expand more that ten times their dry volume size. This puts a significant amount of pressure on the foundation and in certain cases it has been registered to add 25,000 pounds per square inch. Yikes! It is estimated that expansive soils cause $2.3 billion of damage to homes, other buildings and infrastructure in the United States annually.
Regardless of the cause, if you have leaking basement cracks, leaking cracks in the floor, or a crawl space that pools water, talk to a professional to get it evaluated. Even if you have cracks that don’t leak and you have structural concerns, talk to a professional to get it evaluated. We are always here to help, and you can send us a message with any questions you may have.