Discovering a crack in your foundation can be alarming. You may be wondering how the crack formed, and what amount of repairs are needed. You may need foundation bracing in Kansas City, Missouri. In this area, many foundations crack due to the quality of the soil, but not all cracks need immediate repairs.
What Causes Foundation Cracking?
Cracks in the foundation are most commonly caused by the soil around the house. In the Kansas City, Missouri area, our soil is clay-like and thick. It holds moisture and expands, which in turn applies pressure to the foundation wall. Soil also settles over time, which affects the structure of the foundation as well.
Foundations can also crack due to extreme changes in temperature. In the winter, freezing and thawing causes the expansion and contraction of the concrete, which can result in cracking. In the summer, high temperatures lead to similar patterns of expansion during the day and contraction at night. This stresses the concrete and causes cracks.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid getting a foundation crack at some point because it’s the nature of the concrete. All concrete cracks eventually, but not all cracks are cause for alarm.
Types of Foundation Cracks
It’s likely you will see cracks at some point during the life of your foundation. If these cracks are very thin, often referred to as hairline cracks, you don’t need to worry. These cracks are typically found near doors or windows and result from normal settling of the foundation.
Keep an eye on any crack you notice to make sure it isn’t getting bigger. Once a crack is wider than ⅛ of an inch, call a professional to see if repairs or foundation bracing in Kansas City is needed. Cracks can weaken the structure of your foundation and allow moisture and water in.
Vertical Foundation Cracks
These cracks run up and down in a mostly straight fashion, though possibly on a slight angle. Vertical cracks are very common, and you generally don’t need to be too worried about them. They result from normal settling of your foundation. Typically they are not severe and can be easily repaired to make sure they are waterproof and do not progress.
Diagonal Foundation Cracks
Diagonal foundation cracks are usually on an angle, about 30-75 degrees from center. They are typically wider at the ends than in the middle. Diagonal cracks are caused from uneven settling of the foundation. While they can still be fixed easily, you need to make sure the reason for the uneven settling is addressed. Uneven settling has the potential to cause more issues down the line.
Horizontal Foundation Cracks
Image by Takeshi Hirano from Pixabay
Horizontal foundation cracks are the most serious type of crack you will encounter. They are common with concrete block or brick foundations, though they can be found in poured foundations as well. Horizontal cracks are caused by pressure on the foundation from soil or moisture. They need to be repaired quickly to avoid serious permanent damage to the house. The same pressure that forms horizontal cracks can also lead to bowing of the walls. Foundation bracing is often needed with this type of crack.
Horizontal cracks that form where the wall meets the floor are not an issue however. This happens simply because the wall and floor are poured separately, and the joint weakens over time.
Watch any cracks you find closely. Any crack larger than ⅛ inch needs to be repaired. Contact a professional for an assessment. Smart Foundation Systems can take care of your foundation cracks with our Ever-Seal™ System. This two step method of crack repair first fully seals and waterproofs with an injection of polyurethane. Next, a structural bond is created with a product that is embedded with carbon fiber. It’s strong enough that it is highway bridge repair grade! This adds more strength to your wall and means future repairs aren’t needed.
If the walls of your foundation are bowing or you have horizontal cracks or other serious issues, crack repair won’t be enough. You will need foundation bracing to ensure further damage doesn’t occur. There are several options for bracing, but they all will prevent the progress of the cracking and foundation issues. Depending on your unique needs, we can brace your foundation in these ways:
- Standard Steel Beam Bracing (S4x7.7)
- XL Steel Beam Bracing (W4x13)
- Steel Soil Plate and Deadmen Anchor Plates
- Carbon Fiber Wall-Lock™ System
Smart Foundation Systems
When you need foundation repair done right in the Kansas City, Missouri area, the experts at Smart Foundation Systems are here to help. Whether you need foundation bracing or simple crack repair, we have the most efficient and secure methods to get the job done right. Contact us today!