Foundation cracks can be a minor issue that can turn into a major problem if it is not fixed, but in some instances, cracks are a warning sign of serious problems. There are several reasons you might notice foundation cracks.
Weather is probably the least problematic cause of foundation cracks because once the cracks are fixed properly, the problem should be resolved. Normal wear of material can cause small cracks in your foundation to occur. These small cracks can trap moisture. When the weather turns cold, the moisture will freeze and expand, causing the cracks to become larger. When the process occurs repeatedly, the cracks will eventually become large enough to create structural problems. Keeping an eye on your foundation at least annually will help you notice any small cracks and either repair them yourself or have them fixed professionally well before they affect the structural integrity of your home.
Sometimes leaks can trigger cracks in your foundation. Much like water can eventually erode a rock, the same thing can happen with your foundation. If a leak is the culprit, the cracks will likely stay damp or there may be other evidence of moisture near the cracks, such as mold growth. Although crack repair will be important, it will be critical to fix the source of the leak first. Depending on where the leak occurs, there may be extensive damage to your foundation and other areas, such as the basement, that requires a complete overhaul.
Possibly the most troubling source of foundation cracks is the settling of the ground underneath your home. Depending on the material used for the foundation, the cracks may be horizontal or stair-step, with brick showing a stair-step pattern. Since your entire home will not settle at the same rate, one side of your home will sink over time. Other indications your foundation cracks are caused by settling are problems occurring inside your home. Doors and windows may no longer fit neatly in their frame or cabinet doors become difficult to open or swing open without help. There is always some settling that occurs, but certain types of terrain are more prone to this problem, such as loosely-packed terrain like sand or silt. In some instances, this type of terrain may be many feet underground and was not obvious to the original contractors of the home.
Fortunately, not all foundation cracks are a serious problem and may only be an aesthetic concern. Whenever you notice cracks, having them evaluated will help you catch major problems before they ruin your home.
To learn more, contact a cracked foundation repair service.