Small Cracks in Your Concrete Slab Foundation Can Be a Big Problem.
In San Antonio, smaller cracks in your concrete foundation can be signs of a big problem coming
If you're seeing small cracks in your concrete slab in San Antonio, here's some things to look for that may mean your cracks are perfectly normal or if they might require a professional opinion.
Knowing the early warning signs of foundation problems can head off problems that ultimately could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. The sooner you seek a professional opinion on potential problems, the easier and less expensive it is to fix them.
Indoor Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
House foundations settle over time and a little unevenness isn't cause for panic. At the same time, you'll want to be on the lookout for these warning signs that more dramatic changes are taking place:
A door isn't closing right or fails to latch
Cracks appear in walls especially over doorways, windows, or where walls meet ceilings (in the corner)
Cracks open in vinyl or ceramic tile over a concrete floor
Windows that used to open and close easily suddenly begin to stick or won't close completely
Check the Outside of your Home's Foundation
Walk around your house on the outside, check to see if your foundation is straight by sighting down the length of your foundation wall from each corner (just like you'd look down the side of a car to see if it's dented). The walls should be basically straight, both up and down and from side to side. Check for leaning walls with a level if you have access to one.
A bulge or curve in a poured concrete foundation could signal that the foundation has shifted, or that the soil around your foundation may be expanding and contracting, putting pressure on walls.
Check the Concrete Slab for Weakness
If your home has a poured perimeter foundation and the concrete appears to be chipping and flaking, poke at it in a few places with a sturdy screwdriver. The concrete should be so hard that you can't damage it. If you see it chip or a piece breaks off, the concrete could be deteriorating.
Checking Pier & Beam Foundations
Underneath your home, you shouldn’t find puddles or see framing that’s wet. Check for rot by probing wood posts with a screwdriver or awl. Puddles and other signs of moisture in the crawl space under your home may indicate poor drainage around the foundation. Be sure that gutters and downspouts aren't clogged and they are directing water away from your home's foundation. Also make sure that soil slopes away from the foundation at the rate of 6 inches for every 10 horizontal feet. Moisture causes problems for pier & beam foundations in San Antonio. French drains and other methods can direct water away from your foundation and should be explored if you consistently see water accumulating near your home.
Reading Foundation Cracks
As newly poured concrete cures, it shrinks slightly. Where the concrete can’t shrink evenly, it tends to crack. Concrete foundations usually have at least a few cracks. The challenge is recognizing which are insignificant and which are serious. Here’s a list from least to most serious:
Hairline cracks are rarely worth worrying about.
Cracks at an L-shaped area, such as where a foundation steps down to follow a slope, are probably shrinkage cracks, especially if they taper down to a hairline. These aren’t a structural issue, they're perfectly normal.
Stair-step cracks in masonry joints are a bigger concern, especially if the wall is bulging or the crack is wider than a quarter of an inch. A plugged gutter or other moisture problem outside is probably exerting pressure on that part of the wall. Again, moisture is a problem around foundations and should be managed accordingly to avoid foundation problems in the future.
Horizontal cracks are most serious. It may be that water-saturated soil froze and expanded, pushing in and breaking the foundation. Or, you may have soil that expands when damp and shrinks when dry such as the clay soil we see in Northeast San Antonio, Converse, Selma, Kirby, Cibolo or Live Oak Texas.
Is repairing a Foundation expensive?
These are several methods for fixing foundation however it depends on the severity of the problem and how deep the piers need to be in order to reach stable bedrock. One thing we know is that the longer your foundation is able to move, the more it cracks. This can cause damage to your home's roof, framing and structure, plumbing, flooring and more. It's much less expensive to tackle your foundation problem early to minimize the cost in the long run.
If you think you've got a foundation problem, call Alamo City Foundation Repair today and we'll give you a free estimate.
CALL AN EXPERT
Before you buy, have the home checked out by the professsional, reputable foundation repair experts at San Antonio Foundation Repair. We offer free estimates, call today!
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