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Are Foundation Cracks Harbingers of Bad News?

When cracks form in the foundation, the last thing you want is to guess what’s behind it. But far too many people rely on visual looks to determine what’s ailing their foundations. So, they end up applying the wrong solution, which means the underlying problems will persist. Don’t follow suit. 

Symptoms like sticking doors and windows, gapping ceilings, or sloping floors are all linked to a settling foundation. Even if you notice these, you still need to get to the root of the problem and this calls for a thorough evaluation of the foundation. In this post, we’ll show you why foundation cracks in Greenville, SC, don’t necessarily imply there’s a foundation problem. Then we’ll look at when you should be worried before finishing with the most appropriate foundation solutions. 

Do Cracks mean Foundation Problems? 

Sorry to say, but a lot of people believe cracks are accurate indicators of foundation problems. That’s not entirely true. Cracks occur all the time, and some of them are benign. A good example is a hairline crack that occurs as concrete dries or cures. Unless it widens, it shouldn’t cause any alarm. 

You can’t tell what’s behind a crack by just looking at it. Cracks, especially horizontal ones, mostly originate from the earth. And their cause could be anything from sinking soil to tree roots or improper soil preparation before construction. Flooding and soil erosion can also foster foundation problems. In short, there’s a lot that goes into determining whether a foundation will stand or fall apart. 

When to Worry about Foundation Cracks 

While it’s normal for the foundation of your home to sink or develop hairline cracks within the first two to three years after construction, cracks on the concrete block walls or brick exterior could signal your home is undergoing drastic settling. Any gap or opening that’s ¼” should warrant concern. Cracks that run vertically don’t generally point to brewing trouble as the drywall runs in the same direction. 

What you should worry about are horizontal cracks that occur because of a settling foundation. These types indicate that the perimeter of your home’s foundation is experiencing a lot of stress and should be addressed to prevent structural collapse. Ask your local foundation repair experts to evaluate the cracks and recommend a solution. 

Signs that you have a problem include: 

  • Misaligned windows and doors 
  • Bowing walls 
  • Drywall cracks 
  • Large jagged cracks 
  • Sloping floors 
  • Tile and brickwork cracks 

What’s the Best Way to Repair Foundation Cracks?

That’s like asking how to fix a car with a dead engine. Only a qualified mechanic can answer that once they have run some diagnostic checks. Likewise, your contractor will have to examine the foundation first to determine what you’re up against before they recommend a solution. 

Depending on what the underlying issue is, they can recommend one of these trusted foundation repair solutions or more: 

Push piers – We use these devices to stabilize homes in virtually all soil conditions, but mostly in homes with questionable soil. We drive these deep into the soil to level and stabilize your Greenville, SC, home. 

Helical piers – These piers are driven into soil, just below the frost line. We use them to stabilize a sunken foundation and potentially lift the home back to its original level. 

Slab piers – If your home has a concrete slab foundation and it sinks, we use this technology to stabilize and possibly lift the slab and the interior walls. 

IntelliBrace™ System – It’s a patented technology that’s commonly used to stabilize foundation walls and straighten bowing walls overtime. 

Wall anchors – We use them to stabilize bowing or bulging basement walls that have been pushed inward by hydrostatic pressure. 

Crawl space jacks – The IntelliJack™ Stabilizer System is our #1 choice. We use it to stabilize and help level girders and joists that may cause sagging or uneven floors. 

Carbon Fiber wall reinforcements – If walls are cracking and slightly moving inward, we can place strong Carbon Fiber supports on these walls to permanently hold them in their current positions and prevent any further bowing. 

When you fix the foundation, you’re likely to resolve other issues around the home, not just the damage you see. If you intend to remodel your home in the near future, it’s good to level the foundation first or the same issues will recur. Since your home’s structural integrity rests on your foundation, it should be free of cracks and other problems. Mount Valley Foundation Service in Greenville, SC, is ready to provide you with a free foundation repair inspection and quote so you can find out what really ails your foundation before applying the best fix.