One of the scariest things you can hear as a homeowner is “there’s a problem with your foundation.” When the foundation cracks, the bill can quickly add up.
Even the smallest of cracks can let water from the outside in causing flooding in your basement or lower level. Below we’ll explain why cracks form in foundational concrete, what the damage means for your home, and how you can prevent further damage.
What Causes Cracks In Foundation?
Concrete is commonly used for the foundation of homes, although it can be prone to cracks when it faces certain stressors. Cracks in the foundation of a home can be due to many different reasons. Several of these causes are environmental.
A common stress that concrete foundations face is the growth of plant roots. But the reason this causes cracking is often misunderstood. Many people believe that the roots push against the foundation, building pressure until a crack is formed. But plant life typically doesn’t work that way. It forms around its environment, not changing the structure itself.
What actually happens when roots grow under foundation and create cracks is a process called transpiration. This is the process of plants drawing water out of soil and into itself for subsistence. When this happens, the soil dries and shrinks, leaving a gap of space where there was once ground. Rather than roots pushing against the foundation the opposite is true, it gives the foundation too much room and the weight it supports causes it to fracture.
Other common causes can be due to the general shifting of land and the ground the foundation rests on. Concrete is not a flexible material that adapts to slight changes, instead it breaks.
The Damage Itself
Once the damage is done it’s time to investigate and determine what it will cost to fix.
The cracks form in a myriad of ways and all can mean different levels of damage. Hairline cracks are generally nothing to worry about. Concrete is not pliable and is bound to suffer the occasional crack that is merely cosmetic.
Cracks that lead to an inside room such as the basement however is another issue altogether. These cracks make your home vulnerable and expose it to even more possible damage. If it rains and water pools up by the crack, your basement can quickly become a flooded mess.
The first thing that will likely be an identifiable issue is the damage caused to any belonging in the vicinity. Depending on how long the water leaked in without being noticed, some of your personal property may be beyond saving.
For those of you with finished basements, there is more room for potential damage. If water soaks your drywall and flooring for long enough these may need to be replaced completely.
If the crack is horizontal, this could mean the worst. That may indicate an issue that can only be resolved with complete foundation replacement. In all instances other than hairline cracks it’s best to have a professional inspect the structural integrity to ensure your house is safe.
How To Prevent Water Damage From Foundation Cracks?
Unfortunately as mentioned above, sometimes cracks in foundation can lead to even more damage. However there are some measures that can be taken to prevent water damage if a crack does form.
For smaller cracks that aren’t of any structural concern, applying a waterproof barrier is the best course of action. The only solution that will have effective results is the application of a rubberized sealant that can both seal up the cracks and protect against future ones for opening. While concrete isn’t flexible, sealants have a level that can handle the emergence of new cracks, maintaining waterproof protection the entire time.
For larger cracks a consulting structural engineer may fill the gaps to close the majority of the space created. Even after this step it’s best to apply a rubberized sealant as well. This ensures that you have all the preventative measures in place to keep your basement from flooding.
As an added layer of protection, sealing the interior foundation is a great way to give your home every chance to avoid water damage.
What To Do If a Crack Forms?
First and foremost, if it looks substantial in any way, contact a professional to evaluate your home. If there is any structural damage it should be addressed immediately as it is no longer safe to be in that residence. Everything in your home is built upon and relies on the strength of it’s foundation, if that’s compromised, so is the structure above.
If your foundation gets the all clear, then as mentioned above it’s time to take reparative and preventative measures by adding a waterproof barrier to the site of the damage and beyond.
Buy Rexoseal For The Best Protection Against Water Damage
Rexoseal is the original membrane barrier and can ward off any leaks. Our products can keep your home safe from potential leaks and even protect RV roofs and home foundation cracks. This rubberized sealant has been on the market for over 10 years and hasn’t had one leak. To learn more about what Rexoseal can do for you call us at 1-888-796-2110 or visit our website.